Drash Cards for Toldot (5766)
by Marc Mangel
• We have lots to learn from Ch 28, v5 “Mother of Jacob and Esau”. Rashi says that he does not know what this means (there are 76 places where he says this), which implies that our exegesis is still incomplete.
• The Nitziv teaches that Yitzchak thought Esau ~ physical blessing, Jacob ~spiritual blessing
• But Rivka thought — No, both spirituality and physical power are needed (although the Rashbam is not clear why she favored Jacob). Harold Kusher reminds us that one message of the Shoah is the folly of powerlessness — that is, how spot on Rivka was.
• From this, Rashi says that just as Sarah was a greater prophet than Abraham, so Rivka is greater than Yitzchak.
• AB Yehoshua taught that after 2000 years of powerlessness, Jews have yet to balance the archetypes of mind and body, morality and power, and that we would do well to remember that the brothers were twins in the womb.
• This is the 10th anniversary of the assassination of Rabin, who was teaching that Israel is now strong (compared to the situations in 1967 or 1973, which were existential threats) and must be moral.
• The Chazal see Esau as a wasted opportunity because he and Yaakov were raised exactly in the same way, but of course children never are.
• Mishle 22:6 says “Train the youth in accordance with his way” about which Hirsch teaches all human development depends upon the coordination of innate qualities and the way he is educated.
• In summary — we need both spiritual and physical strength. The way this is achieved is different for each of us.