Torah Commentary

Teaching Children According to Their Own Way

November 30, 2019Rabbi Dan Moskovitz

My wife and I have three children, two boys and a girl. ... Each one argues that a certain rule may apply to the other two siblings, but it does not apply to him/her because he/she is our favorite. ... In this week’s Torah portion, Tol’dot, Isaac and Rebekah, the parents of twin boys Jacob and Esau  show favoritism to one child over the other. From the outset we are told that these two children are very different beings.

Isaac Remembers When He Ended It with Abraham

November 10, 2018Rabbi Paul Kipnes

In Parashat Tol’dot, Isaac is described as having “weak eyes,” which is considered a metaphor for his inability to see what his twin sons Jacob and Esau needed from him (Gen. 27:1). Why was he so poorly prepared to father his boys? In this midrashic monologue, Isaac gives us a clue as he reflects upon his relationship with his own father.

Genuine Forgiveness Despite a Grave Wrong

November 18, 2017

In Tol’dot we learn that Jacob, the homespun man, is wilier than his brother Esau, the skilled hunter. While Jewish commentators ascribed many negative traits and behaviors to Esau, a later portion reveals his positive ability to forgive.

Family Discord and Distrust

December 3, 2016Ellen M. Umansky, PHD

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