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Summary of Parshat  "Toldot"

by the editors    
of Torah from Dixie    

Parshat Toldot (Genesis 25:19-28:9) begins with Isaac and Rebbecah praying to Hashem for a child. Rebbecah finally conceives, and after a difficult pregnancy she gives birth to twins - Esau and Jacob. Their personality differences soon grow apparent, as Esau turns to hunting while Jacob is pure and wholesome, spending his time studying Torah. Returning from a hunting expedition, exhausted and starving, Esau finds Jacob cooking a pot of lentil soup. Jacob agrees to give his older brother a portion from the pot of soup in exchange for the spiritual birthright, and the deal is completed.

Faced with a horrible famine, Hashem tells Isaac to remain in the land of Israel rather than descend to Egypt as his father Abraham had done years before, so Isaac and his family settle in G'rar (the land of the Philistines which is within Israel's borders). Hashem reassures Isaac that his descendants will become a great nation, as many as the stars in the heavens. After experiencing incredible financial success, Isaac comes into continual conflict with King Avimelech over the wells which Isaac dug. However, they finally make peace, and the treaty which was signed between Avimelech and Abraham in last week's portion is reconfirmed. Many years later, Isaac decides to bless Esau as the firstborn. At Rebbecah's behest, Jacob disguises himself as his older brother and receives the blessings of the firstborn (which rightfully belonged to him). The portion concludes with Jacob fleeing from Esau's wrath for "stealing" his blessing and escaping to Charan to stay with his mother's brother, Laban, where he is to find a wife.


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