The Portion of Toldot

Genesis 25:19-28:9

Our portion tells the story of Jacob and Esau, from birth through their famous feud. It also includes Isaac’s experiences in the land of Gerar, where he re-digs the wells of his father.



Topic 1: The Childhood of Jacob and Esau

After many years of childless marriage, Isaac and Rebecca pray for offspring, and are blessed with a long-awaited pregnancy. The pregnancy is a difficult one, however, and Rebecca seeks the wisdom of God to understand her travails. She is told that two nations strive for power in her belly, and one day the younger one… Read More »



Topic 2: Like Father, Like Son

This passage contains the only stories in the Torah in which Isaac is not identified with his father or his sons, yet it is remarkably reminiscent of Abraham’s adventures.   Moved by famine, Isaac decides to leave his home in search of fertile land. After God tells him not to leave the land which He has… Read More »



Topic 3: Of Blessings and Deceit

Blind Isaac reaches a ripe old age and decides it is time to bless his beloved son, Esau. He sends the young man to hunt and prepare him a feast so that he may be moved to give his blessing. Overhearing Isaac’s instructions, Rebecca calls Jacob and tells him to bring her two goats for… Read More »



Topic 4: Jacob’s Flight and Esau’s Lesson

Rebecca finds out what her older son is plotting against his brother, and warns Jacob that he should flee. To Isaac, she explains that she does not want Jacob to find a wife among the unsuitable women in the area, and their son must travel to her family to find a wife. Isaac therefore summons… Read More »



Topic 5: Haftarah - A Warning Learned from Esav’s Faults

In 1897, after the First Zionist Congress, an American Evangelical pastor named William E. Blackstone sent Theodor Herzl a bible marking all the references to the Jewish people’s right to the Land of Israel.  Blackstone’s fervent campaign for the Jewish return to Israel continued even as leading Jewish Zionists, including Herzl himself, promoted the Uganda… Read More »
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