Toldot (Genesis 23:1−25:18)
This Week’s Torah Portion: Toldot – תּוֹלְדֹת (Genesis 25:19−28:9)
Jacob’s journey to adulthood is a long and arduous tale and it does not begin well. Jacob, whose name means “heel,” begins his life as the ultimate trickster. He is born grasping onto his brother’s heel and so he lives out his young life – grasping always to trip up his brother, grasping to gain what is not rightfully his own.
But, eventual he sheds the name “heel” and Jacob begins to “heal.” Jacob finds love and begins a family. He learns to use his wits to find his own way in the world. Jacob journeys home hoping to heal that rift he has created. He has been blessed with more than enough wealth in flocks and herds to have and to share with his brother. He has learned that family matters more than anything any of us might have or own. Jacob wrestles with an angel and receives a new name, Israel. Israel is our people’s name. Israel represents us all.
Jacob’s journey to becoming Israel is a lesson for us all: a lesson on our ability to learn and to grow, a lesson on what really matters in life, a lesson on what to be thankful for.