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A Shabbat Nugget: Parashat Toldot

In this week’s Torah portion, we learn about our forefather Isaac. Unlike Abraham who was an initiator, teacher and warrior, looking to educate and change the world, Isaac fights no great battles, hardly mingles in world affairs and never leaves the land of Israel. Instead, Isaac’s focus is inward. The Torah tells us about him meditating in the field and digging many wells.  The reason he dug wells was because it was a physical manifestation of his inward work of self refinement in which he would take away dirt and reveal the inner wellspring within himself.

Because of Isaac’s inner focus, he was able to see the hidden good of his son Eisau and wished to give him great blessings before his death. However, his wife Rebecca was more practical and knew that Eisau would never uncover the inner good hidden within him.  Therefore, she devised a scheme for Jacob to receive the blessings.

The Kaballah teaches that Eisau had very lofty divine sparks embedded in his soul.  Since he did not reveal them, the mission was given to the Jewish people to extract the divine sparks of Eisau and his descendants. One example of this is that the greatest converts to Judaism came from the Romans who were descendants of Eisau.  These converts included Unkelus and Rabbi Meir.

About Rabbi Pesach Scheiner

Rabbi Pesach Scheiner is the Rabbi of Boulder County Center for Judaism. In addition, he teaches extensively throughout Boulder County and is the author of "Finding the Joy in Everyday Living," a book of short chapters explaining the ways to access happiness through appreciation, gratitude, and a sense of purpose.

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