Toldot (Genesis 25:19 – 28:9) is a Torah portion that may, in contrast to those that preceded it, be one of the most ambiguous, even confusing, in the story of the patriarchs.
THe story of Isaac (Yitzak) and Rivkah (Rebecca) begins the parsha, where twins “struggle within her” after 20 childless years. The Shabbat (Friday evening) overview continues through Esau’s “selling his birthright for a cup of pottage,” a ‘like father, like son,’ period with Abimelech, and what seems like an oddly out-of-place interlude about strife and contention over wells, followed finally by perhaps the most concerning story in the sequence, where Yakov, whose legacy is considered to be synonymous with ’emet’, or truth, apparently lies to his father to usurp his older twin’s blessing as well.
What is perhaps most striking about parsha “Toldot,” after several weeks of stories that are SO clear, so foundational, even so unequivical, is how ambiguous this one SEEMS to be. Even some of the pieces don’t seem to fit. And how can such an at best ambiguous story about what might almost be called a disfunctional family teach us about “unsettled times” like these.
Ah, there. Maybe the pieces really DO all fit:
“Toldot: Ambiguity, Confusion, and Why We Can Relate”
The combined two-part teaching is here: