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The Generations [of Isaac]

This is the line of Isaac son of Abraham: Abraham begot Isaac. - Genesis 25:19

  • Rebekah has twins, Esau and Jacob. (25:19-26)
  • Esau gives Jacob his birthright in exchange for some stew. (25:27-34)
  • King Abimelech is led to think that Rebekah is Isaac's sister and later finds out that she is really his wife. (26:1-16)
  • Isaac plans to bless Esau, his firstborn. Rebekah and Jacob deceive Isaac so that Jacob receives the blessing. (27:1-29)
  • Esau threatens to kill Jacob, who then flees to Haran. (27:30-45)

When do we read Tol'dot?

2017 Nov 18
/29 Heshvan, 5778
2018 Nov 10
/2 Kislev, 5779


  • By Ellen M. Umansky

    Friendships among siblings can be close and long-lasting. Many times, however, they are difficult to achieve or sustain. This week's parashah provides insight into the latter. Focusing on the relationship between Isaac and Rebekah's twin sons, Parashat Tol'dot elucidates why it is so difficult if not impossible for Esau and Jacob to become friends. According to the text, their birth is God's gift to Rebekah, who was childless for the first 20 years of her marriage (Genesis 25:20-21, 25:26). Yet even in utero, Esau and Jacob do not get along with one another. Pressing against one another, they cause Rebekah so much physical pain that she consults an oracle through whom the divine speaks to her (see Shera Aranoff Tuchman and Sandra E. Rapoport, The Passions of the Matriarchs [Jersey City, NJ: Ktav Publishing House, 2004], pp. 138-139, citing Rashi and Nachmanides on the excessive pain from which Rebekah suffered).

  • Torah for Tots

    A guide to help adults learn how to engage young children in a discussion about this week’s Torah portion.  

  • Torah for Tweens

    Explore this week’s Torah portion with “Family Shabbat Table Talk” lessons, perfect for families with tweens.

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