11/16/2017

Shabbat Toldot

Candles - Friday November 17th @ 4:16pm
Havdalah - November 18th @ 5:10pm

Mevarhin Rosh Hodesh Kislev

The Ahgravi family invites everyone to a special Younger Generation Kiddush this coming Shabbat @ 11:45am. Please invite your friends.

The story of Rebecca arranging for Jacob to get the family blessing over Esav is the main theme of this week’s reading. But there is another subplot that continues from last week when Rebecca was chosen to be the wife of Isaac. Although it was an arranged marriage, it worked out well; they fell in love.

Esav is forty years old when he marries a Hittite/Canaanite woman (who ironically was called Yehudit). He was not young. His decision was probably not a rash one. But he will have known how much emphasis his grandfather had put on finding a good woman for Isaac. But neither Isaac nor Rebecca were happy with his choice. Perhaps because although his wife had what sounds like a very Jewish name, it was only a name. It did not reflect the kind of person she really was. That was what they objected to. This is prelude to the question of who would be the better to carry on the religious tradition of Abraham and Isaac.

Later on Rebecca says to her husband that she doesn't want Jacob, who they are now both cultivating to become to the heir to Abraham’s tradition, to marry a local girl, because she is disgusted by their behavior. Having a Jewish name means nothing if you don't behave like a Jewish person should.

When Esav hears this, he finally realizes he needs a different kind of wife. So he now goes to Ishmael, his uncle, for a wife instead of taking a Canaanite woman. This helps him reconcile with his parents and his brother.

The importance of a good marriage is emphasized so many times, it is not a coincidence. Sharing the moral and traditional values that are crucial for a successful marriage that will then pass those values on to the next generation. Whom you choose for a wife (or a husband) is one of the crucial themes in the Torah.