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Parshat Toldot


Perhaps this week should be known as “Shabbat Lentil Stew”. This, is after all, the Friday night that my family and I enjoy “some of that red stuff” for which Isaac’s earthy son Esau (described as “red, like a hairy mantle all over”) traded away his birthright to his gentle twin brother Isaac (“a mild man who stayed in the camp”). Isaac, “favored” by his mother Rebekah, is later told by the Bible’s first helicopter mom to trick the aging Isaac into thinking that Jacob is his elder twin so that Jacob will receive his dying father’s blessing over the first born. “‘If my father touches me, I shall appear to him as a trickster and bring upon myself a curse, not a blessing,’” argues Isaac. “But his mother said to him, ‘Your curse, my son, be upon me! Just do as I say....” He does, bringing his mother Esau’s clothes and the skins of “Two choice kids” whose fur Rebekah uses to cover Isaac’s “hairless” neck and hands. (I can’t even get my kids to put down their cellphones.) She dresses Isaac as Esau and Isaac, duped, thus blesses Jacob in this way: “‘May G-d give you Of the dew of heaven and the fat of the earth...Cursed be those who curse you, Blessed they who bless you.’” Esau, “(harboring) a grudge” plans to kill Isaac. Rebekah, overhearing this, sends her favorite son far away. And you thought you had family drama! Shabbat Shalom!

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