(Genesis-25:19-28:9) / (Haftara Malachi 1:1-2:7)

1. Yitzchak was almost sacrificed on the altar by his father, Avraham.  How might that event have affected him and his relationships with his family? Would this story of Ya’akov and Esav have been different if that event had not occurred?

2. [27:19] “…I am Esav, your first-born.”  Our tradition tells us that the main quality of God is Truth. Ya’akov lied to his father, Yitzchak. If a desperate gangster asks you where a friend of yours can be found, should you tell him the truth?  When is a person permitted to not tell the truth?

3. [27:33] “And Yitzchak was terrified with a terrible terror…and he really will be blessed.”  Yitzchak seems to be totally disoriented at first, and then he seems to be very self-confident when he says, “…and he (Ya’akov) really will be blessed”. What might have been going through his mind when he was so confused, and what made him so sure of himself after that?

4. [27:34] “…and he screamed a big and bitter scream…”  In the story of      Ya’akov and Esav, the heroes (Rivkah and Ya’akov) are not totally innocent and the villain (Esav) is shown to be very human and is not totally guilty.  What is the Torah trying to teach us by making this story so complex?

 5. [Haftara: Malachi 1:1] “The burden of the word of God…” God is accusing the Jewish people of not being really devoted to the service of God. They serve God in a “lukewarm, mediocre” way”. Is it easier to become a real servant of God from a place of mediocre service, or from a place of no service at all? 

Commentary

[ 25:22 ]   “And the children struggled within her…”

Ya’akov and Esav were twins, but they were very different from each other. Ya’akov was more studious and meditative, but Esav was more active. And really, every child should be raised and educated according to his own personality. However, both Ya’akov and Esav were educated in the same way—to be studious and meditative. Had Esav been educated to channel his own energies and talents toward Godly matters,  he may have had a better future.

–R. Shimshon Rafael Hirsch, Germany, 1808-1888.

This study page is dedicated to the memory of Rivkah Rochel bat Ya’akov haLevi and Chaya Kornberg, and Yechiel Eliezer ben Yitzchok Meir and Rochel Laya Kornberg

And this study page is also dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava–Eli Zucker