Toledot 5780-2019

“A Lesson from Jacob and Esau: Understanding and Accepting Differences”
(Updated and revised from Toledot 5760-1999)

Some bold commentators have suggested that the difficulties between Jacob and Esau may be due to the fact that not enough attention was paid to the innate differences in the children’s natures, and that they were both, mistakenly, given the same cookie-cutter education. There is always a great price to pay for not recognizing that children have individual and personal needs that must be addressed.

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Lech Lecha 5778-2017

“The Beautiful, Barren Matriarchs”

All four matriarchs were both beautiful and barren. The commentators wrestle with the reason for these blessings and challenges.

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Toledot 5776-2015

"Rebecca Inquires of G-d"

The Torah reports that Rebecca seeks an answer for her terrible pains of pregnancy by inquiring of G-d. Who does Rebecca seek and what does she find?

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Toledot 5775-2014

“Good Families Bad Children, Bad Families Good Children”

Although Esau and Jacob were twin sons born to Isaac and Rebecca, each one developed very differently and chose a very different lifestyle from the other.

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Chayei Sarah 5775-2014

“Are Marriages Made in Heaven?”

When Abraham’s servant, Eliezer, asks Laban and Bethuel, Rebecca's brother and father, whether they will allow Rebecca to return to Canaan to marry Abraham's son, they reply: "The matter stemmed from the L-rd! We can say to you, neither bad nor good." Are marriages made in heaven?

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Pinchas 5774-2014

“The Battle for Women’s Rights”

Especially among those who have limited familiarity with the original scriptural sources, it is often perceived that women are regarded by Jewish tradition as being submissive and subservient to men, eager to fulfill the men’s will. Rabbi Yaakov Philber shows that this is a thoroughly incorrect perception.

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Chayei Sarah 5774-2013

"Yitzchak Establishes a Home with His New Wife"

The betrothal of Isaac and Rebecca can serve as a most valuable case study for finding a mate and establishing a successful home environment.

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Toledot 5772-2011

“Isaac Blesses His Sons”

Professor Menashe Duvshani was for many years the premier Bible educator for Israeli high school students. He offers a unique view on the story of Isaac blessing his sons.

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Toledot 5771-2010

“Isaac, the Man of Commitment”

When comparing Isaac’s experiences in Gerar, we find several similarities with Abraham’s experiences in both Gerar and Egypt. But what accounts for the many differences?

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Chayei Sarah 5770-2009

"The Willing Bride"

When Rebecca is asked by her family members if she wishes to join Eliezer on his journey back to Abraham in Canaan, she responds with a forceful "Yes!" Her response serves as a basis for several important laws that govern parent-child relationships in Judaism.

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Toledot 5769-2008

"The Blessings of a Tzaddik"

Isaac wants to bless his son Esau. Rebecca feels that Jacob is more deserving of the blessing. Does a tzaddik (a righteous person) really have the power to bestow blessings on others? Don't all blessings really belong to G-d?

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Toledot 5768-2007

"Esau's Loud and Bitter Cry"

When Esau realizes that he has been deceived of his blessing, he lets out a loud and bitter cry. Our commentators struggle to understand the cause and repercussions of this bitter cry. Some of the commentators suggest that all future generations pay for causing undue pain to Esau, expressed in his loud and bitter cry.

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Toledot 5767-2006

"The Unanswered Prayer"

Rebecca is barren, and she and Isaac pray for a child. Scripture tells us that G-d responds to Isaac's prayer and Rebecca becomes pregnant. What happened to Rebecca's prayer?

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Chayei Sara 5767-2006

"A Match Made in Haran"

Why was Abraham so insistent that his son Isaac not leave the land of Canaan? Why was it necessary for the new bride to commit herself to Isaac without ever seeing him or meeting his actual family?

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Vayeira 5766-2005

"Confronting Adversity, Lessons from Father Isaac"

Especially when compared to the lives of the dynamic Abraham and Jacob, Isaac's life seems to be one of passivity and tragedy. And yet, with his unique ability to arise boldly from challenge and emerge from darkness, Isaac's life serves as a most valued example to his progeny. It is the model of Isaac that most closely parallels the history of the Jewish people.

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