(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?
  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?
  1. [26:7 ] “…and he said, “She is my sister…” Avraham said that Sara was his sister twice when entering unfamiliar lands—to Pharoah and to Avimelech. The Ramban says that it was a sin for Avraham to say that Sara was his sister. Both times the ruler took Sara into his house, and God saved Sara. One is not supposed to rely on miracles, so why did Yitzchak continue with what was apparently a mistake and say that Rivkah was his sister?
  1. [26:14] “He had flocks of sheep and herds of cattle and many servants…” Both Yitzchak and Avraham became very wealthy after a while. Does that fact affect the story, or would the stories of our forefathers have been the same if they had been poo
  1. [Haftara: Malachi 2:5] “My covenant was with him (Levi)…” God says that the service of the people of Israel is unsatisfactory, but the tribe of Levi is faithful to God. It would have been much simpler to have many special individuals or a whole tribe serving God. Why is it so important to God to have a whole nation that serves him?


[27:28] “And God will give you…”

This pasuk can also be read in Hebrew as “And He will give you God…” That itself is the blessing—you will be worthy to serve God.

–R. Simchah Binem of Peshischa, 1765-1827, Poland.

This study page is dedicated to the memory of Sarah Bella bat Yitzchak Kummer, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer


Mizmor LeDavid meets at the Mesorati High School, 8 Beitar Street, in the auditorium. There is another minyan that meets there, we are the one further north. Accessible from Beitar, the single gate at the bottom of the semi-circle of steps, or from the north end of Efrata Street, through the gate on the right, then turn left.

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