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Two Nations in One Womb – a Dvar Torah

November 19, 2009 – 11:46 pm2 Comments
Source: tzipiyah.com

Source: tzipiyah.com

Parshat Toldot – Dvar Torah

by Yakir

The Parsha in short:
• Rivka gives birth to Yaakov and Esav.
• Yaakov buys Esav’s first-born rights with a bowl of lentil soup
• Yaakov steals Esav’s blessing

Early in Parshat Toldot, we are presented with a vivid picture of the difficulty Rivkah experienced during her pregnancy:
ויתרוצצו הבנים בקרבה¬-And the children crushed within her
The pain was so severe that she appears to question her own motives for living when she cried “Why is it that I am?”

The Midrash offers a deeper insight into these events. It explains that Yaakov strained against Rivkah’s womb as she passed places of Torah study and prayer, expressing his desperate need to be out in the world serving G-d. Esav, on the other hand, fought only as Rivkah passed by temples of idol worship; his Evil inclination as developed in these early stages as was Yaakov’s inclination towards Good.

Rivkah noticed this pattern to the commotion within her, but unlike the reader, was not given the insight that she was carrying twins (Kol Simcha). She felt the kicking to be symbolic of the eternal struggle between Good and Evil, and was curious as to which would ultimately emerge victorious. Is for this reason, according to Rashi, that she sets out to “inquire of G-d” through the prophet Shem. G-d’s answer, however, was that there is no answer: the future of Good and Evil in indeterminate, dependent solely on the choices made through Man’s free will. It is a view supported by the Ohr HaChayim’s interpretation of the words “רב” and “צעיר” as not referring exclusively to the “elder” Esav and “younger” Yaacov, rather to whichever is the “elder” or “younger” in its time. The implication of this is that the tides of battle between Good and Evil will continue shifting in the future as they have throughout history: influenced by our deeds and decisions alone.

In present times, one does not have to look hard to see just how precariously the scales of morality are balanced. Every deed has the ability to transcend time and space, to affect many more than originally intended. It is up to us to make sure that these far-reaching effects are positive, acting only to give Good the upper hand and neutralise the Evil in the world. May we all be able to achieve this goal, and see the arrival of Mashiach, bimheirah beyameinu.

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