Torah portion: Toldos (Tellings)
Supplemental reading: Malachi 1:1-2:7
First let’s summarize the reading.
— Isaac and Rebecca have twins. One is bad (Esau) and one is good (Jacob). They cannot coexist (to answer the first question). The good one will serve the bad until the end of time, and then things will flip.7) There are many discussions about Esau in the literature. Who is this enemy of Israel? Essentially he is an idol-worshiper. He worships FALSE GODS.
This isn’t like where we have a disagreement over religions who believe in God.
He goes with witches.
Rebecca helps the good son trick the bad son into losing his birthright. (Counterintelligence, espionage, disinformation)
Lots of discussion to be had over this.
Disinfo: I note that in the popular show “the Last Ship” &in the Mark Wahlberg movie “22 mile” it is stated openly that “the public needs a good story” and that there are government personnel who operate outside the official lines. (I see this so many times I’ve lost count.)10) Q said: “Disinformation is necessary.”
What else happens?
–Isaac, Rebecca and the Philistines.
We have a repeat of the scenario where one of our forefathers has to go into exile, pretend his wife is his sister, and live with idol-worshipers.
The theme of coexistence runs throughout this portion.
There is a difference between #WWG1WGA and appeasement.
The former has to do with normal human beings living together.
The latter has to do with knuckling under to evil.
The ancient pagans slaughtered their children for statues, engaged in drunken orgies to release demonic energy, threw curses, and reversed morality in ways beyond a normal person’s capacity to imagine.
Monotheism — first Judaism, then Christianity and Islam — said no.
Regarding the fires in California, I noted that the President did not express sympathy for the victims.
The people there noticed too, and called him heartless.
I thought to myself, I think maybe Sodom and Gomorrah are burning.
You might say this is a cruel and heartless orientation, but consider that in the Bible God rains plagues on Sodom and Gomorrah, on the evil Egyptians, and others, because their level of filth cannot be tolerated any longer.
The fact is that Hollywood is a place of evil.
The Bible says we should not rejoice at the downfall of our enemies and this translates to what we are seeing today.
We have a duty to reach out to the human beings who are affected by tragedy.
It is not our place to judge them.
But you can make observations.
Esau marries two “Hittite” women. This is important. (Genesis 26:34-35)
Let’s read the psukim (verses) in Hebrew then in English.
וַיְהִ֤י עֵשָׂו֙ בֶּן־אַרְבָּעִ֣ים שָׁנָ֔ה וַיִּקַּ֤ח אִשָּׁה֙ אֶת־יְהוּדִ֔ית בַּת־בְּאֵרִ֖י הַֽחִתִּ֑י וְאֶת־בָּ֣שְׂמַ֔ת בַּת־אֵילֹ֖ן הַֽחִתִּֽי
וַתִּֽהְיֶ֖יןָ מֹ֣רַת ר֑וּחַ לְיִצְחָ֖ק וּלְרִבְקָֽה
The Torah does not waste words.
“And Esau was forty years old, and he married Judith, the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath, the daughter of Elon the Hittite. And they were a vexation of the spirit to Isaac and to Rebecca.”
Why mention that Esau was 40?
Why call out the Hittites?
Commentator Rashi, citing another commentary, notes how evil Esau was.
Here is his analogy:
Imagine a partial truth offered up as truth.
Imagine if a pig, which is partially kosher, would offer up its cloven hoof and say, “I am kosher.”
We know that one of the primary tactics of fake news is to offer a partial truth as truth.
Misleading headlines, partial information, no context, etc.
Esau spent forty years like a wild man, a thief, a criminal.
But when he turned forty, he said, “my honorable father married at this age, and so will I.”
These are the words of a liar.
Worse than that, Esau dishonored the institution of marriage itself.
The commentator notes that he spent his early years seducing married women away from their husbands.
The dishonorable man “rebrands” himself and takes a Hittite wife.
Why call out the Hittites?
They were despicably evil, sexually immoral, tribes of the Canaanites.
“When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations—the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations larger and stronger than you–you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy.”
When you show mercy to evil people, they come back to destroy you instead.
“They were all idol worshippers with incestuous gods ..and believed in incest, bestiality, adultery, child sacrifice, rape, temple sex with prostitutes, orgies, and other sexual deviances.”
“Excavations of these temple sites (so-called “high places” with stone pillars and altars) revealed containers with sacrificed child remains offered to Molech (Jeremiah 32:35).”
So #pedogate is real – historically real. It never went away.
The text states (Gen. 26:35) “and they were a source of spiritual rebellion to Isaac and to Rebecca.”
Once you let the evil ones into the family, they act to destroy the family from within.
Still, Isaac loves his son.
Still, Isaac wants to bless him.
Often the men do not see what is going on – Isaac was BLIND.
Women see things that men do not.
We see in the portion that Jacob is a quiet man and not a warrior like his brother.
He is a purist, and he is fearful that Isaac will see what he is doing to deceive him (to get the blessing).
Rebecca says “I command you” to do this.
She has to give him strength.
You may be asking yourself how the formality of the blessing matters.
Doesn’t God see what is in a man’s heart?
Doesn’t God just do what is right?
But there is a deeper level of operation going on here.
God works in concert with man’s jurisprudential system.
Isaac blesses Jacob as Jacob after this. He tells his son specifically (Gen. 28:1) “Do not take a wife from the Canaanite women.”
For obvious reasons – they are bad, and will destroy the future of the Jewish people if allowed into the Jacob bloodline.
I just want to end this with a bit of the supplemental portion – from Malachi 1:1-2:7. It is beautiful.
Since time is short, I will just quote the relevant point from the commentary.
Malachi 1:10 — “If there were only someone among u who shut the doors so that you could not kindle upon My Altar in vain!”
1:13 — “You bring stolen, lame, &sick animals…Accursed is the charlatan who has a male in his flock but… slaughters an inferior one to the Lord.”
p. 1139, Stone commentary (link in #2) —
“Israel cannot achieve its destiny merely because of Esau’s downfall.
A chosen people must deserve its chosen-ness.”
By Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal. All opinions are the author’s own. Public domain.