Toldot / Generations
Toldot opens with clear communication between Elohim and Rebecca regarding the twins and her confusion: ‘But the children struggled together within her; and she said, “If all is well, why am I like this?” So she went to inquire of the Lord.23 And the Lord said to her: “Two nations are in your womb, two peoples shall be separated from your body; one people shall be stronger than the other, and the older shall serve the younger.” Genesis 25:19-23. God is quite clear how the life of the two twins will evolve and He shares this information with Rebecca.
At the birth, Esau is indeed born first: ‘So when her days were fulfilled for her to give birth, indeed there were twins in her womb. 25 And the first came out red. He was like a hairy garment all over; so they called his name Esau. 26 Afterward his brother came out, and his hand took hold of Esau’s heel; so his name was called Jacob.’ Scripture also states that Isaac loved Esau and Rebecca loved Jacob.
Scripture never reveals that Rebecca ever went to Isaac with the prophecy from God when she was pregnant. It is also remarkable, that even after God’s prophecy and clarity to her during her pregnancy, she still lacked the faith and found it necessary to switch the identities of the two sons to receive the blessing at the old age of Isaac.
What were the consequences of this deceit? Isaac, old and blind, felt betrayed by Jacob. He “trembled violently” when he realized what had happened, and said to Esau, “Your brother came deceitfully.” Esau likewise felt betrayed and felt such violent hatred toward Jacob that he vowed to kill him, forever instituting this life of hate for generations to come. Rebecca sent Jacob away to hide from his brother, and in doing so deprived herself from the company of the son she loved. As for Jacob, the consequences of the deceit lasted a lifetime, resulting in strife between his wives, and between his children. “Few and evil have been the days of my life,” he said as an old man to Pharaoh. Lives and generations scarred by one act which was not even necessary in the first place.
Rebecca was the immediate next generation from Abraham, her father in law. She knew him personally and in that relationship would have been aware of the trials and tribulations that Abraham endured. She would have been aware of the immense amount of faith that he had during his life with God.
Why then, would she not have learned from him and had the same faith? Especially since God spoke to her personally regarding her sons and the lives they would live. What caused her doubt? What caused her fear?
When we doubt God, we are likened to a double-minded and a very forgetful person.
James 1:5-8 ‘If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.’
James 1:22-23 ‘Be doers of the word, and not hearers only. Otherwise, you are deceiving yourselves. For anyone who hears the word but does not carry it out is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and after observing himself goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.…’
When we doubt the Word and are determined to go our own way, we will experience these results:
- Confusion – Can you imagine taking the time and effort to disguise a grown son by using goat hair?
- Conflict – At the first thought of her scheme, Rebecca began the conflict that would plague her family.
- Cost – At a great cost, she deceived her husband.
- Loss – She lost the time with her son, and possibly the affection of her husband.
- Pain – Her decision inflicted pain upon all four.
- Disaster – A vow to kill followed the brothers until death and beyond.
- Consequences – Are to this day…
Life is to be lived under the guidance of the very Word of God, trusting Him in the decisions that we are to make. Faith, obedience and trust are coequal where one without the other suffers incompleteness. Faith without obedience and trust is simply faith in our own decisions without the guidance of God. Obedience without faith and trust is rote and a life without emotion and love. Trust without faith and obedience is an empty trust in an entity that is foreign to us.
Faith: Hebrews 11:8 ‘By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.’
Obedience: Genesis 26:5 ‘… because Abraham obeyed My voice and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.”
Trust: Romans 4:3 ‘3 For what does the Scripture say? (Genesis 15:6) “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.”
May you be blessed as you study parsha Toldot. Baruch HaShem~ Rabbi Jay Howard