(Genesis-25:19-28:9)
(Haftara Shmuel I, 20:18-42)

  1. [25:31] “Sell me your birthright.” Ya’akov is called an “ish tam”—an honest man
    [25:28]. However, he takes advantage of Esav’s weakness and buys the birthright
    from Esav. Can he still be called an honest person after this sale? Can he still be
    called an honest man after he tricks his father in order to get the blessing?
  2. [26:27] “Why have you come to me?” asked Yitzchak. “You hate me.” Avimelech
    had driven Yitzchak away and now he wanted to make peace. Yitzchak is at first
    truthful and antagonistic, and later becomes friendly. What are Yitchak’s real
    feelings and what does this encounter tell us about Yitzchak?
  3. [27:46] “Rivkah said to Yitzchak: I am disgusted with life because of those Hittite
    women.” Rivkah is again deceiving Yitzchak with this speech. She really wants to
    protect Ya’akov from Esav. This whole story is full of deception. However, the
    mission of this family in the world is to practise and teach the world “kindness and
    justice” [18:19]. How can such a pure mission come out of a beginning so full of
    deception?
  4. [Haftara: 20:33] “…And Saul threw his spear at him…” Saul is the first king of
    the Israelites in the land of Israel, and it is obvious that his mind is unbalanced.
    Why does our tradition insist on telling us that our heroes are not always heroic and
    our leaders are sometimes far from perfect?
  5. [Haftara: 20:42] “God will be between me and you, and between my descendants
    and your descendants forever.” Our tradition considers the love between David and
    Yehonatan to be a pure love, as opposed to other types of love. What is a pure love?

Commentary

Since the commandments were given by God in order to bestow His highest good
upon us, they should be observed in a thankful spirit befitting such a gift. One
should therefore keep the commandments out of love and reverence for God, not
because of one’s preferences or logic, or for any other ulterior worldly motive. In all
observance, one’s only motive should be to serve God…
–R. Aryeh Kaplan, 1934-1983, USA.

This study page is dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava–

Eli Zucker

And to the memory of Sarah Bella bat Yitzchak Kummer, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben

Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer