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Harmony of Worlds
Jacob, Esau, and the Struggle for Dual Inheritance

The portion of Toldot begins with: “These are the histories of Isaac, the son of Abraham.” What are these histories? Rashi, the pre-eminent commentator, explains that these refer to his sons, Jacob and Esau, mentioned in the weekly portion. 

What does this mean? It means that Jacob and Esau express, to some extent, the ideals of Abraham and Isaac. Abraham is said to embody kindness, while Isaac represents judgment. And so, too, Jacob and Esau. Jacob adopts mainly Abraham's kindness, and Esau embodies Isaac's judgment.

However, they are not precisely similar to their fathers because Abraham and Isaac were righteous. In contrast, in the case of Jacob and Esau, one was righteous and the other wicked. Please note that we are not talking exclusively about their behavior but their identity. 

It is said: "And the boys struggled within her (Rebecca's womb)." Once again, we turn to Rashi’s commentary: they argued about the inheritance of two worlds.

What are these two worlds? We are familiar with this world and the world to come from previous lessons (see: Living Twice). But what does each of them want? If we say Jacob wants the spiritual world to come, and Esau wants this material world, then there is no conflict! Each son agrees that the other will take the remaining share. So, what were they fighting over?

However, Rabbi Yehuda Lowe, the Maharal of Prague, explained that each wanted both worlds. Jacob, indeed, had a natural inclination towards the world to come. And it is clear to us that spirituality is more vital within Jacob. Notwithstanding, the challenge of Jacob's mission is to inherit this world, too. 

Perhaps because it does not come naturally to Jacob, we see that throughout the history of the children of Jacob, the Jews enjoyed only limited periods of political success. Still, their task is to reconcile with this world and to inherit it to attain the sanctity of place in this material world. Similar to what we achieved in our time through the return to Zion and the establishment of the State of Israel.

In contrast, this world was guaranteed for the descendants of Edom, Esau, whose destiny is fulfilled by Rome and the West. This world is self-evident, to the extent that the sages hinted that the name Esau has the numerical value of peace in Hebrew. This arises because he (Esau and his descendants) rules this world; he determines the ‘peace’ for all. On the other hand,  his problem is the world to come. For this purpose, the Edomites (Romans) adapted Christian theology to save man from oblivion and promised him that he would inherit the world to come.

Our portion, Toldot, shows that Jacob and Esau struggle to complete themselves. Jacob, by eventually receiving not only Abraham's blessing but also Esau's blessing, becomes not only Jacob, who is somewhat spiritually weak in the end, but also Israel. 

How does this change happen? By connecting the spiritual and physical worlds as one, Jacob becomes worthy of being called' Israel when he integrates with Esau's blessing.

What is the best way/behavior to live and achieve the World To Come? [Click here]

Vairāk nedēļas Toras nodaļu

Meklējot mieru
Jēkaba mesiāniskā tiekšanās

Jēkaba personīgā miera meklējumos, kas ir pretnostatīti Jāzepa sapņiem, stāstījums atklāj mūžīgu cīņu. Spriedze starp individuālo rāmumu un globālo pārmaiņu katalizatoru parādās kā galvenā tēma. Jāzeps paceļas ārpus ģimenes pretestības, viņa sapņi izgaismo ceļu uz globālu pasauli pilnu ar pārtiku un apgaismību. Šī senā sāga rosina pārdomas par mūžīgo jautājumu: vai ir jāupurē personīgais miers, lai panāktu pārveidojošu ietekmi?

Beyond Fear, The Evolution of Jacob into Israel
Unveiled the soul of the Hebrew identity.

Vayishlach delves into the evolution of Jewish identity, tracing Jacob's transformative journey towards becoming Israel. Departing from the previous portion, where Jacob goes into exile, this narrative centers on his return and the intricate process of identity transition. The text emphasizes the importance of grappling with political challenges as a prerequisite for embodying the identity of 'Israel,' who contends with God and men.

A crucial moment unfolds in Jacob's encounter with Esau, where fear takes a central role. Rashi's commentary sheds light on the dual nature of Jacob's fear—fearing potential harm to himself and the prospect of causing damage to others. This nuanced fear reflects the lingering influence of an exile's moral code, which hinders the ability to confront and defeat the enemy.

While Jacob still grapples with a real enemy in the incident of Shechem, his sons understand the necessary course of action for existence in the Land of Israel. The narrative concludes with Jacob returning to Bethel, having acquired the conviction required by the Jews of the Land of Israel—a level exemplified by one who knows how to fight to defend themselves and their Land.

Click here and take real steps in your life today to actively participate in the ongoing narrative of the Hebrew people, to ensure a better future for the world

Pirmdzimtā dzimšanas tiesību iegūšana

Toras daļa "Vajece" stāsta par Jēkaba simbolisko ceļojumu, kas atspoguļo Izraēlas tautas kolektīvo trimdu nākotnē. Morālo izaicinājumu un brāļa Ēsavu apsūdzību laikā Jēkabs pierāda savu morālo pārākumu. To atspoguļo četru pirmdzimto piedzimšanu, īpaši Rūbena piedzimšana, kurš kontrastē ar Ēsavu, aizsargājot savu jaunāko brāli. Stāsta lūzuma punkts ir četru pirmdzimto piedzimšana, kad uzsākas labošanas process un saskatāms kļūst kontrasts starp Ēsava rīcību un Jēkaba dēlu taisnīgo uzvedību. Mums nu ir skaidrs Jēkaba absolūtais pārākums pār Ēsavu. Jāzepa dzimšana kļūst par Jēkaba aiziešanas iemeslu, vadoties pēc izpratnes, ka bioloģisko pirmdzimto var aizstāt vairāk pelnījis jaunākais brālis, kas sasaucas ar plašāku tēmu par Īzāka tiesībām pār Ismaēlu un Jēkaba tiesībām pār Ēsavu.

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