Toldot begins with Rebecca, twins in her womb, struggling with one another over who will emerge first and claim the status of first born. Rebecca calls out asking God why she feels such tumult within her. God replies by sharing with her a prophecy which is placed in her mind and her hands to fulfill. Esau will be born first, and he will be the stronger of her two sons, but God sees something in Jacob, something worthy of blessing, and it will be his destiny to carry forward the story of Toldot, the continuing saga of the generations of the Jewish people.
And therein lies the mystery of the story of Toldot. God tells Rebecca the end of the story at the very beginning, and yet none of this would have happened without her craft and constant aid. Is this a story about keeping faith in God’s promise, or by constantly aiding and supporting Jacob, is Rebecca fulfilling a destiny which she must make real with her own two hands.
And therein lies the mystery of our own lives as well. We are a people of destiny, bearers of God’s promise for a hundred generations. And yet we have learned through all those generations of our people that we must make that destiny real with our own deeds and our own hands. We live in the balance of those two worlds. God shows the way, through words of Torah and lessons on life, but it is ours to learn, and ours to do, and ours to make the future which only we can choose: “for blessing, and not for curse; for sustenance, and not for destruction; for life, and not for death.”
May we choose life and blessing.