29 Nov Toldot
In our Parsha Rivka speaks to G-d and Yitzak speaks to kings, but they don’t speak to each other. From the moment they meet in the last Parsha until nearly the end of our Parsha not a word between them is recorded in the Torah. Yitzak and Rivka came from completely different worlds and lacked the tools to communicate with each other. Yitzak is the only son of a pair of shamans, he grew up in the Yeshiva of Avraham Avinu, Rifka grew up on the mean streets of Aram Naharaim. Rifka moved in with Yitzak and adopted his lifestyle, she became a good Jewish girl and left the life of the street in Babylon.
Rifka always felt inadequate in the eyes of Yitzak. He was a prince of G!d, the son of a prince of G-d, she was the poor daughter from a family of thieves and grifters. She did all she could to hide this from Yitzak, thus hiding herself from him. Too afraid of his rejection if he understood who she was, Rifka doesn’t even speak to Yitzak.
Yitzak loved his wife and longed for complete communion with her. He understood that she was afraid of his rejection and that it was because of her background. He felt inadequate compared to her. She grew up on her own, learned to swim with sharks and like his father left Babylon to serve G!d in Israel. Yitzak always just did what he was told to do.
Yitzak did everything he could to love Rifka and accept every part of who she was. This is why he loved Esav. Everyone knew that Esav was a nogoodnik, he didn’t fool anyone. Yitzak loved him not in spite, but rather because of his negative qualities. Yizak felt that by embracing Esav and all of his faults he could express to Rivka his love and complete acceptance of her. Yitzak feels that by choosing Esav as the heir to the family mission he can finally prove to Rivka his unwavering love for her. Yitzak tried to prove his love and understanding of who Rivka is by choosing Esav for the birthright.
Rivka has her own plans and she orchestrates the grand con of Yitzak through Yakov. This is the first time that Rivka communicates to Yitzak, when she puts Yakov in place of Esav for the blessing. Rivka uses Yakov, the pure and innocent son, to fool Yitzak. Doing so she tells Yitzak who she is. In my father’s house I learned to lie cheat and steal, but that didn’t corrupt me. Rivka says to Yitzak, you don’t know me; I’m not Esav I’m Yakov. I don’t want your to merely accept me as I am, I also need to you expect only the best from me.
The major theme of our Parsha is how leadership is passed from one generation to the next in our familial/national history. It is the story of two couples and two pairs. The couples are Yitzak and Rivka, the second generation of Jewish leadership, and Esav and Yakov, their twin sons. The Torah tells us that Yitzak pairs up with Esav while Rivka favours her younger son Yakov. The twins grow, Yakov is a good boy while Esav develops traits and actions that are displeasing to his parents. It is then a shock when Yitzak chooses Esav to continue the mission that was started with Avraham, to be the head of the Nation of Israel.