10/31/2013

Shabbat Toldot

Candles 5:32pm
Havdalah 6:30pm

Shabbat Mervarchin
Rosh Hodesh Kislev Sunday and Monday

The Torah this week is all about the rivalry and tension between Yaakov and Esav. They were twins but completely different in appearance, temperament and mentality. The competition between them fills these chapters. As the tension gets worse Rivkah decides she must part the brothers and wants to send Yaakov off to her family to build his life in another country. Yitzhak clearly is reluctant. She does not tell him that she fears Esav might kill Yaakov. Instead she persuades him that Yaakov needs to get away from the Canaanite environment and avoid marrying the local girls. She might think he is a bad influence but she does not criticize or demean Esav or let it come between her and her husband.

The Torah says that Yitzhak then sent Yaakov to his brother-in-law Lavan the son of Betuel the brother of Rivkah the mother of Yaakov and Esav. Why did the Torah put Esav after Yaakov? Why did the Torah mention that Rivkah was the mother of both of them, specifically here?

In many families there is sibling rivalry. Sometimes it’s worse than others. A wise parent knows that each child must be given the space and the circumstances to thrive as an individual. Even if children come from the same parents, they are different in capacity and personality. Parents may be inclined to feel closer to or more proud of one or another but they have to be very careful to avoid showing it. Sometimes one or another may need to move away. Sometimes they have to pursue different careers or create their own personal businesses. Despite the differences, despite the different cities they may inhabit, they remain the children of their parents, for better or for worse.