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Parashat Toldot / פרשת תולדות

Crop of Isaac Blessing Jacob by Gerrit Willemsz Horst


Parashat Toldot is the sixth weekly reading in the annual Torah reading cycle, and the sixth reading of Bereishit (“Genesis”). Toldot (תּוֹלְדֹת) is Hebrew for Generations and is the second word of the parashah, which records the genealogies of Esav (Esau) and Ya’akov (Jacob), the twin sons of Yitzkhak (Isaac), and their lives from the time of their birth until Ya’akov leaves home.

The parashah records Yitzkhak’s age when he married Rivkah (Rebekah), the mother of Ya’akov and Esav, the miraculous circumstances of their birth, and the age of Yitzkhak at the time. The parashah illustrates key differences between Ya’akov and Esav as grown men, followed by the circumstances which led to the sale of Esav’s birthright to Ya’akov.

Parashat Toldot continues with the account of how Yitzkhak came to dwell in Gerar among the Pilishtim (Philistines). The parashah records the great blessings which HaShem bestowed upon Yitzkhak, the envy of the Pilishtim toward him as a result, and the ensuing conflict. Ultimately, however, the Pilishtim instigate a covenant with Yitzkhak for their own safety, fearing HaShem.

Following a brief interlude pertaining the two the wives of Esav, the parashah continues with the account of how Ya’akov came to receive his father’s blessing ahead of Esav, the firstborn, with the help of Rivkah, his mother. Esav comforts himself realizing his father’s days are numbered, after which he intends to kill his brother. Ya’akov therefore flees to his mother’s brother as directed by his mother and with his father’s blessing.

Parashah Toldot concludes with the account of why Esav came to take Makhalat, the daughter of Yishmael (Ishmael), to be his wife.

Torah Portion: Genesis 25:19 – 28:9

1st Aliyah: Genesis 25:19-26:5 (21 verses)
2nd Aliyah: Genesis 26:6-12 (7 verses)
3rd Aliyah: Genesis 26:13-22 (10 verses)
4th Aliyah: Genesis 26:23-29 (7 verses)
5th Aliyah: Genesis 26:30-27:27 (33 verses)
6th Aliyah: Genesis 27:28-28:4 (23 verses)
7th Aliyah: Genesis 28:5-9 (5 verses)
Maftir: Genesis 28:7-9 (3 verses)

Reading from the Nevi’im (Prophets):
I Kings 1:1 – 1:31

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