Genesis 25:19 - 28:9

I Samuel 20:18 - 20:42 | Shabbat Machar Chodesh

In this Torah portion, Rebecca and Isaac have twins, the smooth-skinned Jacob, whom Rebecca favors, and the hairy Esau, who Isaac favors. After returning from a hunting trip, Esau asks his brother for some lentil soup, but Jacob tells him he must trade him his birthright. Years later, when Isaac is old and blind, Jacob tricks their father into giving him the firstborn blessing. Jacob leaves home, fearing his brother will retaliate, and finds a wife at his uncle Laban’s house. FULL SUMMARY

(Un)Conditional Love

Isaac and Rebecca provide us with two models of parenting--love dependent on a specific interaction and love that is unconditional.

More on this Torah Portion

One Jew, Two Opinions

Did Rebecca have to do wrong in order to do right?

Breaking the Cycle of Deceit

Before the deceit follows us with serious consequences, we must figure out how to call a truce.

Waiting for the Cookie to Cool

There are many experiences in life that are well worth waiting for.

When Siblings Fight

Toldot: A resource for families.

Toldot and Alternative Families

Rebecca's question continues to bedevil Jewish adults who hope to parent.

The Work Was Unfinished

Isaac experiences frustration when he discovers many of his father's accomplishments were not fully realized.

Challah for Parashat Toldot

Jacob and Esau in the womb.

Manipulating Food Supply to Gain Power

What we can learn from Jacob's food politics.

Parashat Toldot Quiz

My Jewish Learning:Toldot: Pardes 5769

All Over Again

In this portion, children fall into the unfortunate trap of repeating their parents' mistakes.

Change is Possible

The younger son and the enslaved people need not stay downtrodden forever.

Digging Wells, Conserving Water

Now is the time for the Jewish people to respond to regional and global concerns about water scarcity.

Did Esau Have ADD/ADHD?

It is important to see the value in Esau as well as Jacob.

John Wayne Meets Jacob

Jacob inspires us to overcome our Esau-like desires for instant gratification and physical power.

Only Connect

In their relationships with each other, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob, and Esau, struggle between models of unity and connection and separation and deceit.

Parashat Toldot: Summary

Rebecca gives birth to twins, Esau and Jacob, who struggle with each other, engage in bargaining and deception to obtain the birthright and Isaac's blessing.

Synthesizing The Physical And The Spiritual

Rather than dividing the spiritual and physical blessings between Jacob and Esau, Rebekah saw the need for Jacob to receive both.

Rebecca’s Spiritual Crisis

Like Rebecca, we should turn toward God, not away, in our moments of spiritual crisis.

Sharing The Blessing

Isaac's decision to bless both of his sons gives us hope for achieving a peaceful solution to the conflict between Jews and Palestinians.

Women Overcoming Destiny

Jacob and Rebekah teach us that we can alter our destinies and achieve greatness.

Nature Or Nurture?

Isaac and Rebecca's approaches to their sons teach us valuable lessons about education and relating to people with different natural inclinations.