Tiferet Rafael
9665 W. Broward Blvd
Plantation, FL 33324

Parashat Toledot

Dear Congregants:

In this week’s Parashah, we find the riveting story of the two son’s of Yishak, Yaakov and Esav. Early on in the Parashah, Esav sells his birthright to Yaakov. The birthright represented being the sole heir to the mission of Israel including receiving the Torah. The Torah tells us that Yishak’s favorite child was Esav and Rivkah’s favorite was Yaakov. It seems that Yishak was oblivious to the fact that Esav was a Rasha(evil doer).  Therefore, toward the end of his life, Yishak called Esav and explained to him that he wanted to bless him before he died. He then commanded his son to go hunt an animal and prepare for him a meal according to his preferences so that he could eat it and then bless Esav. After hearing this exchange, Rivkah arranged for Yaakov to go to Yishak and pretend to be Esav in order to procure the blessings. Rivkah proceeded to prepare a meal for Yishak the way he liked it. She then dressed Yaakov in Esav’s special clothing and put goat’s skin on Yaakov’s arms and neck to make him similar to the hairy Esav. Yaakov then took the meal, proceeded to go in to Yishak’s tent and pretending to be Esav received the blessings.

It is obvious that the righteous Yaakov was destined to receive the blessings which involve carrying on the tradition and religion of his grandfather, Avraham. The question is why did HaShem cause it to come about in a roundabout way? Why didn’t HaShem just tell Yishak that Yaakov was a Sadik and his beloved Esav was a Rasha and therefore undeserving of the blessings? The Ran answers that in order for blessings to have maximum potency the conferrer of the blessings must be at a high level of happiness. This is because the happier a person is the more the spirit of G-d rests upon him thereby enabling his blessings to have maximum efficacy. Explains the Ran, that had HaShem revealed to Yishak that the blessings would not be going to Esav, this would have caused Yishak sadness. After all, Yishak was still unaware of Esav’s evil ways. And had Yishak become sad, this would have decreased the amount that G-d’s spirit would rest upon him thereby mitigating the power of his blessings. This, explains the Ran is the reason that Yishak asked Esav to prepare him delicacies before conferring the blessings. Partaking of a hearty meal, devotedly prepared by his eldest and beloved son according to his preference would cause him to be happy. This would bring upon him the spirit of prophecy, which would obviously have a positive influence on his blessings.

This teaches us the importance of happiness. The more that one rejoices the closer he is to G-d. So how does one achieve happiness? The greatest and most permanent way to happiness is through Emunah – belief in HaShem. The essence of joy is to know that G-d is the creator of all, that everything is dependent only on Him and that He is the force that drives every force. There is none else other than He. The more one realizes this, the more happiness will fill his soul. May we all merit to bask in the divine illumination by always being cognizant of these truths.

Have a Shabbat Shalom.