Sedra Shorts

Ideas and commentaries on the weekly Torah readings.

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Location: Bet Shemesh, Israel

I taught Tanach in Immanuel College, London and in Hartman, Jerusalem. I was also an ATID fellow for 2 years. At present, I work for the Lookstein Center for Jewish Education in the Diaspora, in Bar-Ilan University, Israel. The purpose of this blog is to provide "sedra-shorts", short interesting ideas on the weekly Torah reading. Please feel free to use them and to send me your comments.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Parshat Toldot

Twins in Her Womb

Rivka is privy to much information that logically she should not have known:

  • Whilst pregnant, God tells her the destiny of her prodigy (Bereshit 25:23)
  • She overhears Yitschok's intention to bless Esav (ibid 27:5)
  • She is told of Esav's intention to kill Yaakov (ibid 41)

However, there's also much she didn't know:

  • She knew she had two nations in her womb, but is surprised that she had twins – "her days to give birth were completed, and behold, there were twins in her womb" (ibid 25:24)
  • She was concerned about Yaakov being cursed by Yitschak, but did not anticipate Esav's reaction to Yaakov taking the berachot (ibid 27:12-13)
  • In sending Yaakov to Lavan, she thought he would only be gone: "for a few days" (ibid 44). She did not know that he would be there for 21 years and that she would never see him again

In acting on her foreknowledge, Rivka alters her family's dynamics:

  • She favors her younger son (ibid 25:28)
  • She decieves her older son (ibid 27:6-13)
  • She misleads her husband (ibid 46)

The result is that her family is split apart with Yaakov forced to flee (ibid 43).

Should Rivka had intervened? Maybe she should have allowed God to worry about His masterplan? The conflict btween Yaakov and Esav and history might have been very different.


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