12-3-13 Message to Beit Adonai Yisroel – Toldot
Torah Portion; Genesis 25:19-28:9
Haftarah: 1 Sam 20:18-42
Suggested Acheron K’tuvim: John 7:6-11
Is Honesty Always the Best Policy?
Central question of this message: Are there circumstances when it is acceptable to tell a lie?
We are in Toldot. The generations of Yitzhak. Its name comes from the second Hebrew word in the passage, toldot.
19 Now these are the records of the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham became the father of Isaac; 20 and Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah, the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean of Paddan-aram, the sister of Laban the Aramean, to be his wife. As we read through this parashah, we find that things began well enough, but then we come across a passage that has given our people some fertile ground for lots of discussion over the generations.
5 And Rebekah was listening while Isaac spoke to his son Esau. So when Esau went to the field to hunt for game to bring home, 6 Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “Behold, I heard your father speak to your brother Esau, saying, 7 Bring me some game and prepare a savory dish for me, that I may eat, and bless you in the presence of the Lord before my death.’ 8 “Now therefore, my son, listen to me as I command you. 9 Go now to the flock and bring me two choice kids from there, that I may prepare them as a savory dish for your father, such as he loves. 10 Then you shall bring it to your father, that he may eat, so that he may bless you before his death.” 11 And Jacob answered his mother Rebekah, “Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man and I am a smooth man. 12 Perhaps my father will feel me, then I shall be as a deceiver in his sight; and I shall bring upon myself a curse and not a blessing.” 13 But his mother said to him, “Your curse be on me, my son; only obey my voice, and go, get them for me.” 14 So he went and got them, and brought them to his mother; and his mother made savory food such as his father loved. 15 Then Rebekah took the best garments of Esau her elder son, which were with her in the house, and put them on Jacob her younger son. 16 And she put the skins of the kids on his hands and on the smooth part of his neck. 17 She also gave the savory food and the bread, which she had made, to her son Jacob. 18 Then he came to his father and said, “My father.” And he said, “Here I am. Who are you, my son?” 19 And Jacob said to his father, “I am Esau your first-born; I have done as you told me. Get up, please, sit and eat of my game, that you may bless me.” 20 And Isaac said to his son, “How is it that you have it so quickly, my son?” And he said, “Because the Lord your God caused it to happen to me.” 21 Then Isaac said to Jacob, “Please come close, that I may feel you, my son, whether you are really my son Esau or not.” 22 So Jacob came close to Isaac his father, and he felt him and said, “The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” 23 And he did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau’s hands; so he blessed him. 24 And he said, “Are you really my son Esau?” And he said, “I am.” 25 So he said, “Bring it to me, and I will eat of my son’s game, that I may bless you.” And he brought it to him, and he ate; he also brought him wine and he drank. 26 Then his father Isaac said to him, “Please come close and kiss me, my son.” 27 So he came close and kissed him; and when he smelled the smell of his garments, he blessed him and said, “See, the smell of my son Is like the smell of a field which the Lord has blessed; 28 Now may God give you of the dew of heaven, And of the fatness of the earth, And an abundance of grain and new wine; 29 May peoples serve you, And nations bow down to you; Be master of your brothers, And may your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be those who curse you, And blessed be those who bless you.”