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History of Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob & Esau (Part 2)

Isaac and Rebecca are married for 20 years. They have no children yet- and the Rabbis teach that this is a sign of the difficulty that comes with maintaining the continuity of the Jewish people.

They persist, and eventually Rebecca gives birth to twins. These twins are from the same womb, but opposites in many ways. The older one, Esau, represents the idea that might makes right. The younger, Jacob, is more serene and aims to learn from his grandfather Abraham.

Esau discards the birthright- which is not just an inheritance but is also a responsibility. Because Esau does not want the responsibilities, he sells the birthright for a pot of lentils.

Eventually Esau will come to regret it. As people advance in life, the things that we thought were so important in our youth are less important. We look for things which are eternal as we sense our mortality waning. Although Esau will come to regret it, and even though the gates of repentance are never closed, it's tough to be like Jacob after 70 years of being like Esau.

Jacob wants and desires to be the spiritual heir of his father. In one of the most poignant stories that appears in Jewish history, Isaac (who is sightless at the end of his life), wants to deliver the charge to his children that they should take over for him. Isaac somehow thinks that Esau can do it, but Rebecca is well aware that Esau will never do it. Therefore Rebecca disguises Jacob and he pretends to be Esau while the blessings are given to him.

When Isaac discovers this, he confirms that the blessings should be given to Jacob. However, Esau is upset and will not forgive Jacob.

Esau wants everything. He wants to have the good time, all the physical pleasures, and he also wants to be the great noble spiritual person. He doesn't realize that you've got to work hard if you want to progress and become a great person.

Esau is identified with totalitarianism and cruel governments. Jacob, on the other hand, becomes a spiritual giant- the leader and forerunner of the Jewish people.

Taught by Rabbi Berel Wein - http://jewishhistory.org

History of Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob, and Esau

In a world of paganism and self-definition of "truth", Abraham taught G-d consciousness, absolute truth, and the importance of morality. He and his wife Sarah die and are buried in the cave of Machpela- which Abraham purchased at great expense in order that it should be the burial place of our patriarchs and matriarchs (and it still is today).

Before Abraham dies however, he sends a messenger to find a wife for his son Issac, since finding the right mate is probably the most important decision anyone can make in life. Rebecca, who comes from a pagan background (King Solomon describes her as being a rose among the thorns), comes to Isaac as a holy person. They become married and build a home together in the land of Israel where they continue the tradition of teaching Monotheism, goodness, and morality. Isaac and Rebecca are the only ones of the patriarchs and matriarchs who never leave the land of Israel.

After Abraham's death, the leadership then passes to Isaac and Rebecca, because Abraham's other son Ishmael doesn't want the to take on the responsibilities and feeling of being alone in the world. Ishmael goes so far as reverting to paganism and crafts of violence, robbery, and subterfuge.

Taught by Rabbi Berel Wein - http://jewishhistory.org

History of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, and Rebecca

Abraham and Sarah, in their old age, miraculously have a child named Isaac. Isaac, which in Hebrew means to laugh or chuckle, is a living reminder that G-d can make even the impossible come to fruition.

G-d then commands Abraham to sacrifice his precious son and Isaac passively agrees. It is written that they went together- and that is an ideal in Jewish life. Generations that can walk together in concert because they are bound together by the commitment to G-d, the common history, and the bonds of family- those are basic Jewish ideas which remain valid throughout the millenia and have brought the Jewish people until today.

G-d then reveals that it was never His intention for this sacrifice to actually happen- that human life is far too valuable to waste. Isaac is saved and then marries Rebecca...

Taught by Rabbi Berel Wein - http://jewishhistory.org



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