Weekly Torah Portion: Toldot (Genesis 25:19-28:9)


In this Torah portion, Rebekah and Isaac have twins, the smooth-skinned Jacob, who Rebekah favors, and the hairy Esau, who Isaac favors. After coming home from a hunting trip, Esau asks his brother for some lentil soup, but Jacob tells him he must trade him his birthright. Years later, when Isaac is old and blind, Jacob tricks his father into giving him the firstborn blessing. Jacob leaves his home, out of fear of his brother, to find a wife at his uncle Laban’s house. Read an extensive summary on My Jewish Learning

Related D’var Torah

“This Torah portion calls us to ask, ‘Who are you?’ Who are yourself, your fullest self around? Who brings you out in all that you are, comfortably, safely, genuinely?” – Rabbi Heather Miller in 2017. Read the full drash

“I have been terrified that if I said my truth aloud – that I am Trans – really revealed myself, then people, my community, wouldn’t love me any more…” – Zsa Zsa Joshua Irving Gershick in 2014. Read the full drash.

“If you’re a firstborn, you know how the firstborn is caught between generations, with one foot in the parents’ world and one foot in the kids’ reality…” – Joe Hample, Rabbinic Intern in 2007. Read the full drash

“I thank my dear friends who came from afar to help me celebrate my 85th birthday. I am a fortunate woman.” – Harriet Perl Z”L in 2005. Read the full drash

“When we study the Shoah and say never again or never forget, it must be all of it. Not only the final devastating explosion like Krystallnacht or the death camps…” – Rabbi Lisa in 1999. Read the full drash.

Torah Verse of the Week*

“Sojourn in this land and I will be with you and bless you, for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Abraham.” (Genesis 26:3; Parashat Toldot)

Other Suggested Readings

“for many people, at some point in their lives, events, relationships and coincidences ‘begin to seem more like signposts than accidents.'” – Rabbi Lisa Edwards’ commentary in the Jewish Journal

This week’s Torah portion, Toldot highlights one of the most dysfunctional families in Torah. Read from our Telephone Torah Study archives

‘Overcoming Destiny: Jacob and Rebekah teach us that we can alter our destinies and achieve greatness’ a Toldot commentary by Gary Rubin. Read the article on My Jewish Learning

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