This week’s candle lighting time is 4:44.
In this week’s parshah, Toldot, the story of Jacob and Esau is told.
Twenty years after her marriage to Isaac, Rebecca finally becomes pregnant with twins. Rebecca feels her babies struggling within her and God tells her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two kingdoms will separate from your innards, and one kingdom will become mightier than the other kingdom, and the elder will serve the younger.”
Esau emerges first, with Jacob born clutching Esau’s heel. Esau grows up to be, “a cunning hunter,” while Jacob is “a wholesome man,” who dwells in the, “tents of learning.” But Esau becomes Isaac’s favorite, even though Rebecca favors Jacob.
One day, Esau returns from hunting, tired and hungry, and finds Jacob preparing a pot of stew. Esau asks for food and Jacob agrees to give it in exchange for Esau’s birthright, which Esau, in his hunger, bargains away.
Later, when Isaac is old and blind, Esau, who had moved away from home, returns to receive his father’s blessing before Isaac dies. When Esau goes off to hunt for his father’s favorite food, Rebecca dresses Jacob in Esau’s clothes, covers his arms and neck with goatskins so he will feel like his hairy brother, and sends Jacob, with similar food, to Isaac. Isaac receives his father’s blessing.
Esau then returns and asks for his father’s blessing, but Isaac had already given it to Jacob so there is nothing for Isaac to do but to give him a lesser blessing and tell him that he will live by his sword, and, “you shall serve your brother, and it will be, when you grieve, that you will break his yoke off your neck.”
Esau then vows to kill his brother, so Rebecca and Isaac send Jacob to Charan to flee Esau’s wrath and to find a wife in the family of Laban. Esau, meanwhile, marries a third wife, Machalath, the daughter of Ishmael.
And so we have a tale of lies and deception involving our matriarch Rebecca and our patriarch Jacob. What are we to make of this?
Circle the Date
Friday night services are coming to Ahavath Achim beginning on Friday, December 7. We will be having periodic Friday night services intended for the entire family, and featuring prayers and readings both in English and in Hebrew.
The service, which will begin at 7:45pm, should last for about an hour and will be followed by an Oneg Shabbat.
Please plan to attend this service and bring some friends. All are welcome, and the more the merrier.
Each Sabbath we do Mi Sheberachs for friends and relatives of our members. This long list of individuals for whom we pray has been provided to us over many months. The list is out of date, so we plan to compile a new list. Please provide us with names for those needing to have a Mi Shebarach offered on Shabbos. You can do so by commenting to this blog or emailing to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanksgiving Bargains at Shul
Psalm 92 begins, “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to thy name O Most High.” But with so many stores now beginning their Black Friday sales on Thanksgiving Day, too many people put their shopping ahead of their God. Why not get an early start on giving thanks by attending our special Thanksgiving services to be held at 9:30 on Thanksgiving morning? It won’t take long, and if you are looking for a bargain, this is the best one you will ever find. And it’s free!