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Parashah 06 Toldot

Genesis 25:19 – 28:9

By Dr. K. Blad  ©

Second edition 2013-14 (5774)

Lucrative copying not permitted. 

Torah Readings:

  1. 25:19 – 26:5
  2. 26:6-12
  3. 26:13-22
  4. 26:23-29
  5. 26:30 – 27:27
  6. 27:28 – 28:4
  7. 28:5-9
  8. Maftir: 28:7-9

Haftarah: Malachi 1:1 – 2:7


The plural of toldah,[1] which means “generation”, “descendant”, “history”, “memoir”, “chronicle”.


The First Aliyah, 25:19 – 26:5

25:19 “This is the history of the generations of Yitzchak, Avraham's son. Avraham became the father of Yitzchak.” (HNV) – The Hebrew word that is translated “history” is toldot. This is where the name of the Spanish city of Toledo comes from, since Jews settled there and developed that city.

25:20-21 “Yitzchak was forty years old when he took Rivkah, the daughter of Betu'el the Syrian of Paddan-Aram, the sister of Lavan the Syrian, to be his wife. Yitzchak entreated HaShem for his wife, because she was barren. HaShem was entreated by him, and Rivkah his wife conceived.”(HNV revised) – Many Hebrew women have been barren, Sarah, Rivkah, Rachel, and Channah, the mother of the prophet Shemu’el. Avraham and Sarah had to wait for over 70 years for an answer to prayer. Yitzchak and Rivkah waited 20 years before they had children. Rachel had to wait 14 years before she had children, and Chanah was barren for 19 years, according to a Midrash. In verse 26, it says that Yitzchak was 60 years old when his wife bore Esav and Ya’akov. This means that Yitzchak had been praying for 20 long years. That is twenty years of waiting to see the fulfillment of the promise that Avraham’s descendants would multiply! We can learn many things from this:

First of all we learn that the walk with the Eternal is not easy. The road is full of problems, giving us reasons to give up. The walk of faith means trusting the Eternal in such a way that you can overcome all your problems and see radical changes in life’s crisis.

In Romans 8:35-37, it is written,

“Who shall separate us from the love of Messiah? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, ‘For your sake we are put to death all day long; we were regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him Who loved us.”(MRC)

It does not say, “without all these things we overwhelmingly conquer…”, but rather, “in all these things…”. In the midst of need, anguish, persecution, hunger, nakedness, danger, sword, and death, we are more than conquerors because of Him who loved us even unto death. The walk of faith meant, for both Avraham and Yitzchak, that they had to trust the Eternal so that their problems, which were without human answer, could be solved.

The second thing that we learn from this text is that the promises of the Eternal are not fulfilled without human cooperation. In spite of the fact that Yitzchak was the heir of the promises that were given to his father about his descendants becoming like the stars and the sand, he did not wait passively for them to be fulfilled. He pressed on in prayer until they were fulfilled. The Eternal has created prayer so that He can cooperate with man and fulfill His plans on the earth. The prophecies in Scripture are not just there to embellish history with lovely predictions, causing us to marvel at the greatness of the Eternal, but there so that we can cooperate with Him so that the plans He has purposed ahead of time can be fulfilled.

We see an example of this in the life of the prophet Daniel, who entered into prayer and fasting when he understood that the time had come for the fulfillment of a prophecy, as it is written in Daniel 9:2-3,

“in the first year of his reign I, Daniyel, understood by the books the number of the years about which the word of HaShem came to Yirmeyahu[2] the prophet, for the accomplishing of the desolations of Yerushalayim, even seventy years. I set my face to the Lord God, to seek by prayer and petitions, with fasting and sackcloth and ashes.”(HNV revised)

The great secret to success in life is to cooperate with the Eternal so that the prophecies are fulfilled.

Yitzchak entreated HaShem for his wife” – This text contains keys to a successful prayer life.

  1. Yitzchak prayed based on the prophecies that were spoken over Avraham’s descendants, and specifically over himself, see 12:2, 7; 13:15-16; 15:5, 18; 16:10; 17:7-9; 17:19; 21:12; 22:17; 24:7.

a.       First of all, this meant that he was not seeking his own interests in prayer, but the interests of the Eternal, in the same way that our Lord Yeshua did, according to what is written in Luke 22:42b where it is written: “Yet not My will, but Yours be done.”. See also Matthew 6:10. The purpose of prayer is that the will of the heavenly Father should have success on the earth.

b.      Secondly, it meant that he prayed in faith, trusting that the Eternal is mighty to fulfill what He has promised, see Matthew 21:22; Romans 4:20-21; James 1:6-8; 5:14.

  1. Yitzchak prayed earnestly. The word that is translated “entreated” or “prayed” is va-yetar,[3] which comes from a root that has to do with abundance. According to Rashi, in this context the word means fervent prayer. See also Luke 18:1-8; Acts 12:5; Hebrews 5:7; James 5:15-16.

  2. Yitzchak prayed constantly. His persevering prayer lasted for 20 years. See also Daniel 6:10; Luke 21:36; Romans 1:9; 12:12; Ephesians 6:18; Philippians 1:4; Colossians 1:3, 9; 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 1:2; 2:13; 5:17; 1 Timothy 5:5, 2 Timothy 1:3.

  3. Yitzchak prayed for his wife. We can most definitely say that both Yitzchak and Rivkah prayed. But the Torah only says that Yitzchak’s prayer was heard. Rashi says that this is because he was the child of a righteous man, but she was not. Therefore his prayer was more effective than hers. We can also point out that it is more powerful to pray for others than to pray for oneself. When someone forgets about himself and begins to care about others, it releases heavenly power over the person in need. Intercession is a powerful thing, see Job 42:10; Exodus 8:28-31; Numbers 11:1-2; Matthew 5:44; Romans 8:34; 15:30; Ephesians 1:16; 6:19; Philippians 1:19; Colossians 4:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:25; 2 Thessalonians 3:1; 1 Timothy 2:1; Philemon 1:4; 22; Hebrews 13:18; James 5:16.

25:22 “The children struggled together within her. She said, ‘If it be so, why do I live?’ She went to inquire of HaShem.”(JPS revised) – The Hebrew word that is translated “struggled”, va-yitrotzatzu, is a hard one to understand. It comes from the root ratzatz[4] which means to “fight”, “struggle” or “make war”. But it is also related to the word ratz, which means to “run”. Therefore, the rabbis have translated it as meaning that the children were struggling in her womb, trying to rush out. With this as a point of reference, a Midrash was established that says that Ya’akov was running inside of Rivkah and kicked, wanting to come out, when she walked past the place where the Torah was being studied. Esav, however, kicked, struggling to come out, when she walked past a place of idolatry. The Targum translation says they were pushing each other.

Rivkah was in such pain that she questioned why she had prayed for a son in the first place. If she had known that she would have such a hard pregnancy, she would not have prayed. Why was she the only woman that felt this way during her pregnancy? At last she decided to go and ask the Eternal. Where did she go then? According to the Midrash[5] and the Book of Jasher,[6] she went to the land of Moriah and asked advice from Shem and Ever. They gave her an answer from heaven.

One Midrash[7] claims that Rivkah had been destined to give birth to Israel’s twelve tribes, but because she complained so much during her pregnancy, she lost that privilege and it was given to Ya’akov’s four wives instead.

25:23 “HaShem said to her, Two nations are in your womb. Two peoples will be separated from your body. The one people will be stronger than the other people. The elder will serve the younger.’”(HNV revised) – These two nations would come to play a very important role in history, and especially during the last days in relation to the coming of the Messiah. Ya’akov became the father of Israel and Esav became the father of the nation of Edom and the Roman Empire. There has always been tension between these two. If one had the upper hand, the other would be under, and vice versa. From these two, there would come great kings. From one of them would come King Shelomoh, who would build the first temple in Yerushalayim. From the other would come Emperor Hadrian, who would destroy the second Temple. In the end, the younger will be greater than the older. In the end, Yerushalayim will be greater than Rome!

25:25 “The first came out red all over, like a hairy garment. They named him Esav.”(HNV) – The name Esav[8] comes from the word asui, which means “done”, “finished”. A Midrash even says that he was born with a beard and teeth, like an adult.

25:26 “After that, his brother came out, and his hand had hold on Esav's heel. He was named Ya`akov. Yitzchak was sixty years old when she bore them.”(HNV) – The Hebrew word for “heel” is ekev[9]. Since the head symbolizes the beginning of something, the heel therefore, symbolizes its end. Ya’akov, holding onto the heel, symbolizes that he will, in the end, take control over the world. When the influence of the Roman Empire is destroyed by the coming of the Messiah, the Hebrew world empire will take over, as it is written in Daniel 2:34-35,

“While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.”(NIV)

The legs and the feet of the statue symbolize the Roman Empire. That empire will be struck on the feet, the place where Ya’akov was holding on to his brother, and then the Jewish-Messianic Empire will be established in the whole earth, as it is written in Daniel 2:44-45a,

“In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands—a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces.”(NIV)

Further on in the book of Daniel, the Roman influence is presented as a horrible beast. Its influence will end when the Son of Man comes with the clouds of heaven, as it is written in Daniel 7:13-14, 18, 26-27,

“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed… But the consecrated ones of the Most High will receive the kingdom and will possess it forever—yes, for ever and ever… But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the consecrated ones, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.”(NIV revised)

In Obadiah verse 21 it says,

Saviors will go up on Mount Tziyon to judge the mountains of Esav, and the kingdom will be HaShem’s.”(HNV revised)

The name Ya’akov can therefore also be understood as “the one who wins in the end” or “the one who forces aside in the end”. There is no prophecy that speaks about Edom’s restoration after its destruction in history and in the end times.

“Yitzchak was sixty years old when she bore them.” – Therefore 6000 (60x100) years will pass, from the creation of Adam until the fulfillment of this prophecy about the victory of the younger over the older.

25:27 “The boys grew. Esav was a skillful hunter, a man of the field. Ya`akov was a quiet man, living in tents.”(HNV) – Ya’akov was an upright man. The Hebrew word tam is translated as “quiet”. According to Rashi, it means in this case that he was not good at deception as was Esav, but he was upright, simple.

The rabbis interpret the word “tents” as a reference to the tents of Shem and Ever, who, according to tradition, were leaders of a place of study, where they gave spiritual teaching. According to another interpretation, we can understand this word in reference to Genesis 4:20, where it has to do with raising livestock. The Book of Jasher says[10] that Ya’akov lived in tents and raised livestock while he was learning the instructions of the Eternal and the teachings of his parents.

25:29 “Ya`akov boiled stew. Esav came in from the field, and he was famished.”(HNV) – According to the Talmud,[11] this was the day that Avraham died. The 15 year old Ya’akov was cooking lentil stew to console his father. Those in mourning eat lentils. According to a Midrash,[12] Esav came home from the countryside completely exhausted because he had killed Nimrod and two of his men.

25:31 “Ya`akov said, ‘First, sell me your birthright.’”(HNV) – The birthright is a spiritual inheritance that meant having the responsibility of keeping the family traditions. It also meant having the right to represent the family and serve as priest at the sacrifices. Before Israel sinned with the golden calf, all firstborn were priests. But afterwards the Levites took their place, see Exodus 19:22, 24; Numbers 8:18. The firstborn also received twice as much of the inheritance from the father, as it is written in Deuteronomy 21:15-17,

“If a man have two wives, the one beloved, and the other hated, and they have borne him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the firstborn son be hers who was hated; then it shall be, in the day that he causes his sons to inherit that which he has, that he may not make the son of the beloved the firstborn before the son of the hated, who is the firstborn: but he shall acknowledge the firstborn, the son of the hated, by giving him a double portion of all that he has; for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.”(HNV)

In Hebrew 12:16, it is written,

(See to) that no fornicator, or profane one, like Esav, be among you, who sold his own birthright for eating.”(MRC revised)

Here it says that Esav was profane. The word that is found in the Greek translation and is translated as “profane” or “godless” is bebelos.[13] The same Greek word is found in the Septuagint in 1 Samuel 21:5 as a translation of the Hebrew word chol[14], which means “secular”, “common”, “general”. It comes from a root which means “to make hollow”, “to bore (make a hole)”, “to empty”, “to injure”, “to take apart” and so on. This teaches us that Esav was a person who was empty on the inside but had an exterior façade of respect. He did not distinguish between the consecrated and the common; he did not value his spiritual calling as a priest but lived only to fulfill his natural desires without care for future consequences. He appreciated material things and pleasure more than eternal realities. He despised the plan of salvation for mankind, which had been revealed to Avraham and Yitzchak. By his way of being he damaged the image of the Eternal. He could therefore not become the representative of the family or a channel of blessing for the nations. Therefore HaShem despised him, as it is written in Malachi 1:2-3,

“’I have loved you,’ says HaShem. Yet you say, ‘How have you loved us?’ ‘Wasn't Esav Ya`akov's brother?’ says HaShem, ‘Yet I loved Ya`akov; but Esav I hated, and made his mountains a desolation, and gave his heritage to the jackals of the wilderness.’”(HNV revised)

Esav’s character and attitude were detestable to the Eternal. It is obvious that his father Yitzchak was not aware of the evil that was hiding behind his respectful façade.

26:1 “There was a famine in the land, besides the first famine that was in the days of Avraham. Yitzchak went to Avimelekh king of the Pelishtim, to Gerar.”(HNV) – According to the Book of Jasher,[15] this Avimelekh was the son of the Avimelekh who lived during Avraham’s time. He had received the same title. Avimelekh means “my father is king”. Yitzchak planned to go down to Egypt in order to escape the famine, as his father had done.

26:2 “HaShem appeared to him, and said, ‘Don't go down into Egypt. Live in the land I will tell you about.’”(HNV revised) – Yitzchak was born in the land of Israel and furthermore, he had been offered up to the Eternal. A Midrash says[16] that this was the reason he was consecrated in a special way and could not leave the land. This became a test of faith for Yitzchak.

Egypt represents the present world system. When we are in a crisis, where do we go for help? Do we seek help from the world, or from the Eternal? Yitzchak was forced to trust the promises of the Eternal in order to remain in the land that could not bring forth any food.

26:3 “Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you, and will bless you. For to you, and to your seed, I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to Avraham your father.”(HNV) – Here Yitzchak received a promise that would keep him throughout the drought. If he trusted this promise, he would be successful in the midst of problems.

26:4  “I will multiply your seed as the stars of the sky, and will give to your seed all these lands. In your seed will all the nations of the earth be blessed.”(HNV) – The Eternal does not say that his descendants will be as the sand of the sea, or the dust of the earth, but only as the stars in the sky. Avraham’s heavenly descendants have a special connection with the son. It is the same with those who have a special connection with God’s Son. They will become like the stars in the sky. They are Avraham’s heavenly descendants.

The promise that his offspring would receive these land areas is repeated twice. On the one hand, it is a clear reference to the fact that Avraham’s heavenly descendants will inherit the land of Israel, and in its prophetic implications, it means that all the nations of the world will be under their dominion, as it is written in Romans 4:13,

“It was not through law that Avraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith.”(NIV revised)

On the other hand, it refers to the Messiah who will be the ruler over the land areas which are mentioned in this text, as well as all the nations of the earth, as it is written in Luke 1:32-33,

“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name Yeshua. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the House of Ya’akov forever; and His Kingdom will have no end.” (MRC revised)

And in Isaiah 9:7,

“Of the increase of his government and of shalom there shall be no end, on the throne of David, and on his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from that time on, even forever. The zeal of HaShem Tzevaot will perform this.”(HNV revised)

And in Daniel 7:14,

“And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”(JPS)

“will… be blessed” – This is the Hebrew word ve-hitbarchu which is not the same word that is used in Genesis 12:3. According to Rashi, this word has the same meaning everywhere in the Scriptures and can be likened to a man saying to his son “May your descendants be as Yitzchak’s descendants”.

“nations” – The word used here is goyim, which is sometimes translated as “gentile nations”. If we compare the promise in Genesis 12:3, we see that another word used, mishpachot, “families”. A nation is greater than a family. This teaches us that the blessing that was given to Yitzchak will affect the world on a different level than the blessing that was given to Avraham. These two promises have influence in the most important institutions of the community, the family and the nation. The family is first and then the nation. If the family suffers the nation will suffer. The family is the institution, which holds the nations together. When families fall apart, it destroys nations.

26:5 “because that Avraham hearkened to My voice, and kept My charge, My commandments, My statutes, and My laws.” (JPS revised) – Here we find five different words:

  1. Voice – “Avraham hearkened to My voice” – in Hebrew shamah Avraham be-koli. This has to do with obeying the voice of the Eternal during times of testing (Rashi). It is also a matter of daily obedience to the voice of the Spirit of the Eternal in an intimate relationship with him, as it is written in Romans 8:14, “For all who are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”(MRC)

  2. Keep – “and kept my charge” – in Hebrew va-yishmor mishmarti, which means, word for word, “and kept my guarding”. According to Rashi this has to do with preventive statutes in relation to things forbidden by the Torah, including rabbinical laws that were established later. However, there are several rabbis who are not in agreement with him in this. We can understand by the text that Avraham had an attitude of caution and meticulousness when it came to heavenly things that must be guarded and kept.

  3. Commandments – “my commandments” – Here we find the word mitzvoth, which normally includes all of HaShem’s commandments. Rashi, however, in this instance, gives the word a limited meaning and claims that it refers to the laws that have social character and are natural to man, such as not stealing, not shedding blood, and so on. These social laws in the Torah are usually called mishpatim.

  4. Statutes – “my statutes” – In Hebrew chukotai. This word refers to commandments that do not have any logical explanation, and therefore the evil urge rebels against them more than against the other commandments.

  5. Laws – “my laws” – In Hebrew ve-torotai, from the word torah, “instruction”, “teaching”. According to Rashi this includes both the Torah that was later written at Sinai as well as the oral Torah, which was also given at Sinai. But this doesn’t mean that Avraham knew about all the 613 commandments, which later were given at Sinai.

Avraham is distinguished by his obedience to everything the Eternal has established. This includes those commandments that had been passed on from Adam, as well as those given to Noach, and also those commandments that were revealed prophetically to him.

In Genesis 38:8, we can see that during the time of the patriarchs, the law about the brother in law of a widow taking her to himself, and restoring the offspring of the dead if she had no children, already existed. That commandment was later put down in written form, see Deuteronomy 25:5-6. Another example is when Yehudah, as rightful judge, pronounces the death sentence over Tamar, saying that she must be burned because she had committed adultery, see Genesis 38:24. According to tradition, she was the daughter of a priest. The command was later written down in Leviticus 21:9. We can also mention the giving of tithe, which both Avraham and Ya’akov did, Genesis 14:20; 28:22. See also Leviticus 27:30-32 among other texts.

We can see that several of the commandments, which were written down later, were already applied during the time of the patriarchs.

The Second Aliyah, 26:6-12

26:8  “It happened, when he had been there a long time, that Avimelekh king of the Pelishtim looked out at a window, and saw, and, behold, Yitzchak was caressing Rivkah, his wife.”(HNV) – According to the Book of Jasher,[17] it was a matter of three months. In the Hebrew it says: archu lo sham ha-yamim, which literally means that “the days were lengthened for him there”. It is not the same expression that is used in 21:34, yamim rabim.

26:10 “Avimelekh said, ‘What is this you have done to us? One of the people might easily have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt on us!"”(HNV) – There are two types of guilt, individual and corporate. When an individual commits a sin he is responsible for his own sin before the Eternal. But the sins of the individual affect the community that he is a part of. It may be his family, his city, his congregation, or his nation and so on. If the leaders of the community do not judge the sin of the individual when it is discovered, there will be a judgment on the entire community because of the individual sin. In Joshua 6-7 we see an example of this, when Akhan took of the spoils. There is another example in 1 Corinthians 5. Corporate guilt is formed when leaders of a community do not judge the exposed sins that have been committed by individuals, and which have not been redeemed. Corporate sin is also when leaders, who represent the whole community, sin, or when the whole community sins.

26:12 “Yitzchak sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year one hundred times what he planted. HaShem blessed him.”(HNV revised) – Here we can see the faith of Yitzchak. HaShem had told him to stay in the land and that He would bless him. That promise created such a trust in Yitzchak that he, in spite of the drought, decided to invest in a crop. He had calculated a certain harvest, but the production was a hundred times more. The Midrash[18] and Rashi teach that Yitzchak calculated for more than what he needed, so that he would be able to tithe.

Yitzchak obeyed the Eternal by not going down to Egypt to seek security there. He also trusted in the promise of blessing, and sowed in the year of drought. The attitude of giving up worldly pleasures and trusting in the supernatural care of HaShem released the resurrection power of the Eternal in an extraordinary way. The results were 100 times more than expected! This agrees well with our Rabbi’s words in Mark 10:29-31, where it is written,

“Yeshua said, ‘Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house, or brothers, or sisters, or mother, or father, or children, or farms, on account of Me and on account of the good news, but that he shall receive a hundred times as much now in this season, houses, and brothers, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and farms, with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life. But many first will be last; and the last, first.’”(MRC)

The Master says that this reward will be bestowed “with persecution”. That was exactly what happened to our father Yitzchak.

The Third Aliyah, 26:13-22

26:15 “Now all the wells which his father's servants had dug in the days of Avraham his father, the Pelishtim had stopped, and filled with earth.”(HNV) – A well is a source of life and it represents spiritual life. The enemies knew that the natural source of Yitzchak’s success was in the wells. Therefore they filled them with dirt. The enemy will always try to choke the connection between us and the spiritual source of life that the Eternal has given us. HaShem is our source of life, and our relationship with him is primarily developed through prayer and Torah studies. The enemy of our soul will attack these two areas primarily.

In Psalm 36:9, it is written,

“For with you is the spring of life. In your light shall we see light.”(HNV)

In Jeremiah 2:13, it is written,

“For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the spring of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.”(HNV)

In Proverbs 18:4, it is written,

“The words of a man's mouth are like deep waters. The fountain of wisdom is like a flowing brook.”(HNV)

In Proverbs 13:14, it is written,

 “The teaching of the wise is a spring of life, to turn from the snares of death.”(HNV)

In John 4:14, it is written,

“but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water leaping up into eternal life.”(MRC)

The water, which the Messiah gives, is his Torah. The well that flows into eternal life is the Spirit of the Messiah, which takes up residence in all those who receive his living words.

The person who constantly prays in the spirit remains in the love of the Eternal, as it is written in Jude 20-21,

“But you, beloved, building yourself up on your most sanctified faith; praying in the Spirit of Sanctity; guard yourself in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah to eternal life.”(MRC revised)

Do not allow the enemy to stop up your well! Take at least a couple of hours a day to draw from the Well of Life through prayer, both with understanding and in the spirit, and through studying the Scriptures.

26:18 “Yitzchak dug again the wells of water, which they had dug in the days of Avraham his father. For the Pelishtim had stopped them after the death of Avraham. He called their names after the names by which his father had called them.”(HNV) – The wells that Avraham dug represent the revelations that he received in his spiritual quest. Our enemies can stop up the revelations that our spiritual fathers received. Our job is to re-dig the wells and to respect the names that they had. This text teaches us that our relationship in life to the Eternal depends, to a great extent, on our spiritual forefathers. Let us not despise the elders’ revelations. Let us respect the wells of our forefathers. Let us not change the names that were given to the revelations, which were received from heaven. Let us not put pagan names on Hebraic concepts. Let us not exchange the name of Yeshua with the name Jesus. Let us respect the traditions of the people of Israel.

Yitzchak was a man who prayed and dug wells. One is connected with the other. Prayer creates a depth inside the spirit of man, and from that depth there is a connection with the depth of the Spirit of the Eternal, as it is written in Psalm 42:8a,

“Deep (the spirit of man) calls to deep (the Spirit of HaShem).”(NIV)

In 1 Corinthians 2:10, it is written,

“For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.”(MRC)

26:19 “Yitzchak's servants dug in the valley, and found there a well of springing water.”(HNV) – The water is in the valley. The valley represents humility.

26:20-22 “The herdsmen of Gerar argued with Yitzchak's herdsmen, saying, ‘The water is ours.’ He called the name of the well `Esek, because they contended with him. They dug another well, and they argued over that, also. He called the name of it Sitnah. He left that place, and dug another well. They didn't argue over that one. He called it Rechovot. He said, ‘For now HaShem has made room for us, and we will be fruitful in the land.’”(HNV revised) – These three wells can be compared to the three temples. In the first two temples there was strife and they were destroyed. The third temple, however, will remain throughout the Messianic thousand year reign.

We can also note that the Torah emphasizes that Yitzchak himself dug the third well, not his servants. From this we learn the importance of personal effort. If you let others dig your wells, you will have problems in life. You need to go to the depth yourself and seek the Eternal until you find living water in order to find freedom and be successful. There is no shortcut. Please, do not mistreat your prayer life and your Torah-studies. Others cannot do it for you. YOU YOURSELF must bend your knees in solitude before the Eternal, and take time to study the Scriptures in order to be a free and successful person. In order to get a hold of the blessings of the forefathers, you must dig deep!

The Fourth Aliyah, 26:23-29

26:24 “HaShem appeared to him the same night, and said, ‘I am the God of Avraham your father. Don't be afraid, for I am with you, and will bless you, and multiply your seed for my servant Avraham's sake.’”(HNV revised) – Fear is banished when you are assured of the benevolent presence of someone stronger than that which you fear, as it is written in Psalm 23:4a,

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”(HNV)

In Psalm 118:6, it is written,

 “HaShem is on my side. I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?”(HNV revised)

“for my servant Avraham's sake.” – Yitzchak and his descendants were blessed for Avraham’s sake. Since Yitzchak had re-dug Avraham’s wells, and respected the names which Avraham had given them, he was blessed for the sake of Avraham. Within Judaism the term zechut avot, “the merits of the forefathers”, or “for the sake of the forefathers” is often used, as it is written in Romans 11:28,

With respect to the Good News they are hated for your sake. But with respect to being chosen they are loved for the Patriarchs' sake”(CJB)

26:25 “He built an altar there, and called on the name of HaShem, and pitched his tent there. There Yitzchak's servants dug a well.”(HNV revised) – Yitzchak walks in his father’s footsteps and settles in Be’er-Sheva. There he builds his first and only altar and calls on the Name Yod He Vav and He. The son only builds one altar. This is a reference to God’s Son who was sacrificed once and for all, as it is written in Hebrews 9:24-28,

“For the Messiah did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands, a copy of the true one, but into Heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; nor was it that He should offer Himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the most consecrated place yearly with blood not his own. Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after this, judgment, so the Messiah also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.”(MRC)

Yitzchak’s servants dug a well in Be’er-Sheva also. This is the fourth well that Yitzchak opens. Here we have two pictures; the altar, which goes upward, and the well, which goes downward. The height of a man depends on his depth. It is the same way with trees. The higher a tree is, the deeper its roots will need to be in order for it not to fall over. The success in public life is dependent on the humility in the intimate life with the Eternal.

In order to have success in your spiritual life, you must go to the places where our spiritual forefathers have been and seek for yourself. This is where the well of life is found!

Now is the time to come back to the places of the revelations of our spiritual forefathers. Now is the time to seek the old ways and walk in them. Not just seek them. Not just study the weekly parashah. Not just learn. It is a matter of also walking in these ways! That is the only way to find rest for our souls, as it is written in Jeremiah 6:16a,

“Thus says HaShem, Stand you in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way; and walk therein, and you shall find rest for your souls: but they said, We will not walk [therein].”(HNV revised)

The ancient paths are Moshe’s Torah interpreted in the light of the Messiah, as it is written in Matthew 11:29-30,

“Take up My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart; and you shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”(MRC)

The Fifth Aliyah, 26:30 – 27:27

26:32-33 “It happened the same day, that Yitzchak's servants came, and told him concerning the well which they had dug, and said to him, ‘We have found water.’ He called it Shivah. Therefore the name of the city is Be'er-Sheva to this day.”(HNV) – That was the fifth well that Yitzchak dug. According to a Midrash,[19] each of the wells represents one book in the Chumash (Pentateuch). Esek represents Bereshit, which tells of the creation of the “world” – esek. Sitnah represents Shemot, because there it tells of the hatred and enmity of the Egyptians toward the Israelites. Vayikra is full of laws, which are likened to water from “a well” (Genesis 26:25). Shivah (seven) symbolizes Bamidbar, which includes three different books of the Torah (for, according to the Jewish sage, Numbers 10:35-36 constitutes a separate book), which gives a total of seven books in the Torah. Rechovot represents Devarim, because this is where the laws are given which apply to the time when the children of Israel were to increase in the promised land (Deuteronomy 19:8).

“the same day” – The same day that they swore the oath of the covenant, water was found. The well was named Shivah, “seven”,[20] which is similar to the word shvuah,[21] “oath”. Therefore the city is called Be’er-Sheva even today.

26:35 “They grieved Yitzchak's and Rivkah's spirits.”(HNV) – Rashi says that they became a spiritual opposition against Yitzchak and Rivkah. Targum says they rebelled against them.

27:1-2 “It happened, that when Yitzchak was old, and his eyes were dim, so that he could not see, he called Esav his elder son, and said to him, ‘My son?’ He said to him, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘See now, I am old. I don't know the day of my death.’”(HNV) – Yitzchak was 123 years old.[22] There were still 57 years before he was to die. This meant that Esav and Ya’akov were 63 years old at the time.

Since his mother Sarah had died suddenly at age 127, Yitzchak thought that he too could possibly die at that age, and he was preparing himself, just in case.

27:12 “What if my father touches me? I will seem to him as a deceiver, and I would bring a curse on myself, and not a blessing."”(HNV) – Ya’akov knew the spiritual laws. The one who deceives brings down a curse on himself.

27:15 “Rivkah took the good clothes of Esav, her elder son, which were with her in the house, and put them on Ya`akov, her younger son.”(HNV) – A Midrash says that Esav kept his best clothes in the house with his mother in order to be able to visit his father. Esav is marked by his respect for his father. That is why his descendants were so blessed and he could become the father of an empire that has remained for thousands of years.

If Rivkah had not deceived her husband, the Eternal would have worked it out in the best way so that His word could be fulfilled. Here she is trying to help the Eternal in a way that is forbidden and this brought much unnecessary suffering over herself and her family. HaShem does not need cleverly constructed ideas in order to fulfill his promises. He needs our faithfulness and honor. Lying and stealing do not bring success, but a curse, as it is written in Zechariah 5:2-3,

“He asked me, ‘What do you see?’ I answered, ‘I see a flying scroll, thirty feet long and fifteen feet wide.’ And he said to me, ‘This is the curse that is going out over the whole land; for according to what it says on one side, every thief will be banished, and according to what it says on the other, everyone who swears falsely will be banished.’”(NIV)

27:22 “Ya`akov went near to Yitzchak his father. He felt him, and said, ‘The voice is Ya`akov's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esav.’”(HNV) – In Talmud[23] it is written:

“‘The voice of Jacob’: this is the cry caused by the Emperor Vespasian who killed in the city of Bethar four hundred thousand myriads, or as some say, four thousand myriads. ‘The hands are the hands of Esau:’ this is the Government of Rome which has destroyed our House and burnt our Temple and driven us out of our land. Another explanation is [as follows]: ‘The voice is the voice of Jacob:’ no prayer is effective unless the seed of Jacob has a part in it.”

27:27 “He came near, and kissed him. He smelled the smell of his clothing, and blessed him, and said, ‘Behold, the smell of my son is as the smell of a field which HaShem has blessed.’”(HNV revised) – The smell inspired Yitzchak so that the prophetic spirit could come over him. HaShem has created different means of bringing joy to the soul. Lovely smells is one of these. Other good means of inspiration are the sounds from a well-played instrument, as in the case with the prophet Elisha, see 2 Kings 3:15. The power of the Spirit can also be released by a cheerful and loving greeting, as in the case with Miriam when she visited Elisheva, see Luke 1:41.

“a field which HaShem has blessed.” – This stands in contrast to the curse that came on the ground because of Adam, see Genesis 3:17. In Yitzchak, the son, this curse was removed. In the same way, the curse will be removed completely from the earth through God’s Son, as it is written in Revelations 22:3,

“And there shall no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His slaves shall serve Him.”(MRC)

The Sixth Aliyah, 27:28 – 28:4

27:28-29 “God give you of the dew of the sky, of the fatness of the earth, and plenty of grain and new wine. Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers. Let your mother's sons bow down to you. Cursed be everyone who curses you. Blessed be everyone who blesses you.”(HNV) – These ten blessings were given in relation to the attribute of righteousness, God (Elohim). Only when Ya’akov’s descendants walk in righteousness can they partake of these blessings. If they practice unrighteousness they will be cursed, as is seen in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28.

The blessing of material success depends on righteous acts. One who misuses the poor by paying minimal wages, or cheats on his taxes, or does illegal business, is committing unrighteous acts and his riches will rot, see James 5:1-6. Yitzchak’s blessing depended on righteous behavior, as it is written in Matthew 6:33,

 “But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”(MRC)

God’s righteousness is revealed in his Torah, as it is written in Psalm 119:7, 142, 144, 160, 172,

“I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous social laws… Your righteousness is everlasting… and your law is true. Your statutes are forever right; give me understanding that I may live… All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal… May my tongue sing of your word, for all your commands are righteous.”(NIV revised)

Only when the people of Israel live according to the righteous commands of the Eternal, will the nations bow to them, as it is written in Psalm 81:13-16,

“If my people would but listen to me, if Israel would follow my ways, how quickly would I subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes! Those who hate HaShem would cringe before him, and their punishment would last forever.”(NIV revised)

The greatest problem in the Middle East is not the hatred of the Arab Muslims toward the Jews, but rather the Jewish people’s disobedience to the Torah of the Eternal which was given through Moshe.

27:39-40 “Yitzchak his father answered him, ‘Behold, of the fatness of the earth will be your dwelling, and of the dew of the sky from above. By your sword will you live, and you will serve your brother. It will happen, when you will break loose, that you shall shake his yoke from off your neck.’”(NIV revised) – God is not mentioned in this blessing. Still, it has power to influence the future. According to Hebrews 11:20, Yitzchak gave this blessing by faith, as it is written,

“By faith concerning things to come, Yitzchak blessed Ya’akov and Esav.”(MRC)

The last part of the prophecy was fulfilled in 2 Kings 8:20-22a, where it is written,

“In his days Edom revolted from under the hand of Yehudah, and made a king over themselves. Then Yoram passed over to Tza`ir, and all his chariots with him: and he rose up by night, and struck the Edom who surrounded him, and the captains of the chariots; and the people fled to their tents. So Edom revolted from under the hand of Yehudah to this day. Then did Livna revolt at the same time.”(HNV)

The blessing that was given to Esav is the origin of the Roman Empire and the western culture. According to Rashi “the fatness of the earth” is referring to Italy and Greece, where a grandchild of Esav, Tzefo, became king.[24]

27:41 “Esav hated Ya`akov because of the blessing with which his father blessed him. Esav said in his heart, ‘The days of mourning for my father are at hand. Then I will kill my brother Ya`akov.’”(HNV) – This shows us the respect that Esav had for his father. His bitterness never left, as it is written in Amos 1:11-12,

“Thus says HaShem: ‘For three transgressions of Edom, yes, for four, I will not turn away its punishment; because he pursued his brother with the sword, and cast off all pity, and his anger raged continually, and he kept his wrath forever.’”(HNV revised)

In Obadiah verse 10 it says,

 “For the violence done to your brother Ya`akov, shame will cover you, and you will be cut off forever.”(HNV)

This was fulfilled in history. In 500 BCE the old Edomite kingdom was destroyed. There will also be a future destruction of the Roman system at the coming of the Messiah, which we mentioned earlier.

28:3-4 “May El Shaddai bless you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, that you may be a company of peoples, and give you the blessing of Avraham, to you, and to your seed with you, that you may inherit the land where you travel, which God gave to Avraham.”(HNV revised) – Here we can see that the blessing given to Avraham did not pass on to Esav, but to Ya’akov and his descendants. These verses confirm what we said earlier, that Avraham’s blessings relate to three things: God, the people, and the land.

The Seventh Aliyah, 28:5-9

28:5  “Yitzchak sent Ya`akov away. He went to Paddan-Aram to Lavan, son of Betu'el the Syrian, Rivkah's brother, Ya`akov's and Esav's mother.”(HNV) – Here we can calculate the age of Ya’akov when he came to Lavan. When Ya’akov stood before Pharao in Egypt, he was 130 years old, according to Genesis 47:9. Therefore Ya’akov was 91 years old when Yosef was born. According to Talmud and the Book of Jasher,[25] Yosef was born at the end of the 14 years that Ya’akov served for his two wives. Then Ya’akov must have been 77 years old when he left the land of Kana’an to travel to Lavan. Talmud[26] claims that Ya’akov stayed in the house of Ever for 14 years to study before continuing on to Lavan.

[1]       Strong H8435 toledah  toledah, to-led-aw', to-led-aw', From H3205; (plural only) descent, that is, family; (figuratively) history: - birth, generations.

Strong H3205 yâlad, yaw-lad', A primitive root; to bear young; causatively to beget; medically to act as midwife; specifically to show lineage: - bear, beget, birth ([-day]), born, (make to) bring forth (children, young), bring up, calve, child, come, be delivered (of a child), time of delivery, gender, hatch, labour, (do the office of a) midwife, declare pedigrees, be the son of, (woman in, woman that) travail (-eth, -ing woman).

[2]       See Jeremiah 25:11-12; 29:10.

[3]       Strong H6279 ‛âthar, aw-thar', A primitive root (rather denominative from H6281); to burn incense in worship, that is, intercede (reciprocally listen to prayer): - intreat, (make) pray (-er).

[4]       Strong H7533 râtsats, raw-tsats', A primitive root; to crack in pieces, literally or figuratively: - break, bruise, crush, discourage, oppress, struggle together.

[5]       Bereshit Rabbáh 63:7.

[6]       Chapter 26, verse 10-11.

[7]       Bereshit Rabbáh 83:7.

[8]       Strong H6215 ‛êśâv, ay-sawv', Apparently a form of the passive participle of H6213 in the original sense of handling; rough (that is, sensibly felt); Esav, a son of Isaac, including his posterity: - Esav.

Strong H6213 ‛âśâh, aw-saw', A primitive root; to do or make, in the broadest sense and widest application: - accomplish, advance, appoint, apt, be at, become, bear, bestow, bring forth, bruise, be busy, X certainly, have the charge of, commit, deal (with), deck, + displease, do, (ready) dress (-ed), (put in) execute (-ion), exercise, fashion, + feast, [fight-] ing man, + finish, fit, fly, follow, fulfil, furnish, gather, get, go about, govern, grant, great, + hinder, hold ([a feast]), X indeed, + be industrious, + journey, keep, labour, maintain, make, be meet, observe, be occupied, offer, + officer, pare, bring (come) to pass, perform, practise, prepare, procure, provide, put, requite, X sacrifice, serve, set, shew, X sin, spend, X surely, take, X thoroughly, trim, X very, + vex, be [warr-] ior, work (-man), yield, use.

[9]       Strong H6119 ‛âqêb  ‛iqqebâh, aw-kabe', ik-keb-aw', From H6117; a heel (as protuberant); hence a track; figuratively the rear (of an army). (lier in wait is by mistake for H6120.): - heel, [horse-] hoof, last, lier in wait [by mistake for H6120], (foot-) step.

Strong H6117 ‛âqab, aw-kab', A primitive root; properly to swell out or up; used only as denominative from H6119, to seize by the heel; figuratively to circumvent (as if tripping up the heels); also to restrain (as if holding by the heel): - take by the heel, stay, supplant, X utterly.

[10]     Jashar 26:17b.

[11]     Babah Batrah 16b.

[12]     Bereshit Rabbah 63:19, Jashar 27.

[13]     Strong G952 βέβηλος, bebēlos, beb'-ay-los, From the base of G939 and βηλός bēlos (a threshold); accessible (as by crossing the door way), that is, (by implication of Jewish notions) heathenish, wicked: - profane (person).

Strong G939 βάσις, basis, bas'-ece, From βαίνω bainō (to walk); a pace (“base”), that is, (by implication) the foot: - foot.

[14]     Strong H2455 chôl, khole, From H2490; properly exposed; hence profane: - common, profane (place), unholy.

Strong 2490 châlal, khaw-lal', A primitive root (compare H2470); properly to bore, that is, (by implication) to wound, to dissolve; figuratively to profane (a person, place or thing), to break (one’s word), to begin (as if by an opening-wedge); denominatively (from H2485) to play (the flute): - begin (X men began), defile, X break, defile, X eat (as common things), X first, X gather the grape thereof, X take inheritance, pipe, player on instruments, pollute, (cast as) profane (self), prostitute, slay (slain), sorrow, stain, wound.

[15]     Jasher 24:20-21.

[16]     Bereshit Rabbáh 64:3.

[17]     Jasher 28:7.

[18]     Bereshit Rabbáh 64:6.

[19]     Bereshit Rabbáh 64:7.

[20]     Strong H7657, shib‛âh, shib-aw', Masculine of H7651; seven (seventh); Shebah, a well in Palestine: - Shebah.

[21]     Strong H7621, shebû‛âh, sheb-oo-aw', Feminine passive participle of H7650; properly something sworn, that is, an oath: - curse, oath, X sworn.

[22]     Rabbi Eli Munk, in “La Voz de la Torá” (The Voice of  the Torah).

[23]     Gittín 57b.

[24]     See Flavius Josefus, the Book of Jasher 61:25, and Josippon’s book 1:2 (written in year 953) which says that Tsefo had a grandchild by the name of Latinus and later a descendant by the name of Romulus who was the founder of Rome.

[25]     Megilláh 17a and Jashar 31:21-14.

[26]     Megilláh 17a.