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5 Facts About Parshat Toldot that You (Maybe) Didn’t Know

Published on Friday December 18th, 2020

Discover and learn every week, "5 Facts" written on the weekly Parshah that you can share at your Shabbos table.


וַיֶּעְתַּ֨ר יִצְחָ֤ק לַֽה֙ לְנֹ֣כַח אִשְׁתּ֔וֹ כִּ֥י עֲקָרָ֖ה הִ֑וא וַיֵּעָ֤תֶר לוֹ֙ ה' וַתַּ֖הַר רִבְקָ֥ה אִשְׁתּֽוֹ׃(25:21)

Isaac pleaded with the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren; and the LORD responded to his plea, and his wife Rebekah conceived.

  1. 1.       Why was Rivkah sterile?  
  • · One of the reasons Rivkah was sterile, was because Lavan her brother, blessed her (Bereshit 24:60) and God didn’t want people to think that she gave birth because of his blessing.


וַיִּתְרֹֽצֲצ֤וּ הַבָּנִים֙ בְּקִרְבָּ֔הּ וַתֹּ֣אמֶר אִם־כֵּ֔ן לָ֥מָּה זֶּ֖ה אָנֹ֑כִי וַתֵּ֖לֶךְ לִדְרֹ֥שׁ אֶת־ה׃(25:22)

But the children struggled in her womb, and she said, “If so, why do I exist?”She went to inquire of the LORD.

2. How many children was Rivkah originally destined to have?  

  • · Rivkah was originally destined to give birth to all 12 tribes. However, since she complained about the pain of her first pregnancy (with Yaakov and Esav), the merit was taken away from her. This is alluded to by the use of the word “ze” when she questions her difficult pregnancy. “Ze” has a numerical value of 12.


וַיֵּצֵ֤א הָרִאשׁוֹן֙ אַדְמוֹנִ֔י כֻּלּ֖וֹ כְּאַדֶּ֣רֶת שֵׂעָ֑ר וַיִּקְרְא֥וּ שְׁמ֖וֹ עֵשָֽׂו׃(25:25)

The first one emerged red, like a hairy mantle all over; so they named him Esau.

3. How was Esav originally supposed to be named?  

  • · Originally, Esav was supposed to be called “Assuy” with the letter yud in his name. But Yaakov “took” it from him and it was added to his own name as “Yaakov” instead of just “Ekev”. In the future, Esav’s letter vav will also be taken from him by Eliyahu and given to Yaakov. Esav’s name will then become “Es” and Yaakov’s name will then always be spelled in full, with the letter vav, as it is in Vayikra 26:42: "וזכרתי את בריתי יעקוב".

4. Why wasn’t Esav circumcised right away?

  • · Esav wasn’t circumcised right away because he was very red and his parents were afraid for his health. When he got older, he wouldn’t let them circumcise him. Some say that he circumcised himself and that he kept all of the Torah’s commandments (until his father Yitzchak died).

וְאַֽחֲרֵי־כֵ֞ן יָצָ֣א אָחִ֗יו וְיָד֤וֹ אֹחֶ֙זֶת֙ בַּעֲקֵ֣ב עֵשָׂ֔ו וַיִּקְרָ֥א שְׁמ֖וֹ יַעֲקֹ֑ב וְיִצְחָ֛ק בֶּן־שִׁשִּׁ֥ים שָׁנָ֖ה בְּלֶ֥דֶת אֹתָֽם׃(25:26)

Then his brother emerged, holding on to the heel of Esau; so they named him Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when they were born.

5. You dreamt of Yaakov beautifully dressed? What does it mean?  

  • · It is taught that anyone who dreams of Yaakov, beautifully dressed, will have years added to his life.
Eytan Yéhouda DZIKOWSKI - © Torah-Box Account

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