Parshat Toldot: Choosing without conditions

Isaac’s blessing to Esau echoes God’s answer to Rebecca in regards to her difficult pregnancy.

“And the Lord said unto her: ‘Two nations are in your womb, and two regimes from your innards shall be separated. The might shall pass from one to the other, and the elder shall serve the younger’.” (Genesis 25:23)

Isaac’s blessing is more detailed.

“Behold, of the fatness of the earth shall be your dwelling, and the dew from the heavens above. By the sword you shall live, but your brother you shall serve. Yet, it shall be that when you are aggrieved, you may cast off his yoke from upon your neck.” (25:39-40)

As we can see, the content of both statements are conditional, and none of their assertions are permanent, except for the same end result. At the end, Esau shall serve Jacob, which means that goodness is destined to prevail over wickedness. We also see a parallel with Noah’s curse to his son Ham, condemning him to serve his brothers Shem and Yaffeth. In this latter context Ham parallels Esau, both representing negative traits and trends in human consciousness.

Both statements also contain a warning for Jacob’s descendants in regards to their dealings with wickedness and evil ways, which lead us to conclude that good and evil are all about choosing either one in order to live by what they represent. Another lesson to Jacob from Isaac’s blessing to Esau is the relentless nature of evil, and the constant vigilance we must have against it. We can’t afford the luxury of letting evil cohabit with our goodness, and we learn this from our forefathers, who learned it from God.

“Shall the seat of wickedness have fellowship with You, which frames misery by decree? The wicked band together against the righteous and condemn the innocent to death. But the Lord has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge. And He has brought upon them their own wickedness, and will cut them off in their own evil. The Lord our God will cut them off.” (Psalms 94:20-23)

This verse is joined repeatedly by our prophets in regards to the end of times and the Messianic era, when the Creator will fulfill His promise to eradicate evil from the face of the earth. Yet the choice is still ours to decide either to live in, with, by and for the goodness of love’s ways and attributes or living in ego’s fantasies and illusions with their negative trends. The Torah later will present God’s choices for His people, the blessings and the curses, and He commands us to choose life as the encompassing expression of goodness in the material world.

God’s answer to Rebecca is clear about the final destiny He wants for human consciousness, that the negative traits and trends represented by Esau will end up serving the greater purpose goodness is in God’s creation. Still, it’s up to us to make the choice for us as individuals and as the Jewish nation commanded to be and do goodness as the light for the nations.

About the Author
Ariel Ben Avraham was born in Colombia (1958) from a family with Sephardic ancestry. He studied Cultural Anthropology in Bogota, and lived twenty years in Chicago working as a radio and television producer and writer. He emigrated to Israel in 2004, and for the last fourteen years has been studying the Chassidic mystic tradition, about which he writes and teaches. Based on his studies, he wrote his first book "God's Love" in 2009. He currently lives in Kochav Yaakov.
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