Toledot (Bereshit/Genesis 25:19 - 28:9)
29 Heshvan 5758
November 29, 1997
This week's portion is the beginning of the story of Jacob. Jacob was the twin brother of Esau. Esau was born first with baby Jacob actually grabbing his heal. Grabbing after Esau was something that characterized Jacob's early life.
Being the first born was of great significance in that culture, making Esau the chief heir. But as the story goes, Jacob sought to gain Esau's first-born privileges. He did this by first buying Esau's birthright for a pot of stew, and later by trickiing his father, Isaac, thereby getting the greater blessing that Isaac had intended to give Esau. As a result of these events, the blessings and promises first given to Abraham were then passed on to Jacob rather than to the natural heir, Esau.
We could look at the fairness of these events. We could question motives, actions, and consequences. But to do that would miss much of what could be learned here.
Esau despised his birthright (25:34). Jacob wanted it. Even though Jacob was not entitled to receive the greater blessing, he worked hard at getting it. Esau could not care less.
Esau was a man whose life's concerns was wrapped up in the present and that's all. He could not see beyond himself and his immediate needs. Jacob's desire was to lay hold of a blessing that would take him beyond himself, his own immediate needs, and install him as the one who would carry on a great inheritance. An inheritance from God first given to his grandfather Abraham that would extend to all peoples and for all eternity.
The story of Jacob and Esau is about our hearts' desires. Jacob longed for God's blessing, even though he wasn't entitled to it. And even though he went at it the wrong way, God granted him what he wanted.
What do you want? How far do you see? Are you happy just to make it through today, or does your vision reach into eternity?
The Messiah said,
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21).