The Parsha of Toldos

The Parsha of Toldos

The Parsha of Toldos begins with the verse, “These are the descendants of Yitzchak ben Avraham, Avraham fathered Yitzchak.” Rashi is bothered by the obvious question that the second half of the verse is redundant. Rashi answers from Chazal two answers, 1) the Torah comes to tell us that it was after Avraham’s name was changed from Avrum to Avraham that he fathered Yitzchak, and 2) The Torah needed to make the emphasis because of the “laitzainai hador”, the town clowns, the court jesters that have no respect for anything, the trouble-machers, who claimed “look, Sarah lived for so many years together etc. etc.” Therefore HaKadosh Boruch Hu made it, apparently in an unusual way, that the face of Yitzchak Avinu was so similar to the of Avraham’s that no one could deny that Avraham fathered Yitzchak.

Parsha on Boruch Rappaport Author Blog

Bris Mila – Get Full Control

On the first pshat I understand as follows: The gemora says that one of the points of significance of the name change from Avrum to Avraham, the additional “heh”, and that the gematria of his name rose from 243 to 248, the number of limbs in a person, is that originally Avraham had full control over 243 limbs, that means that he was missing full control over five. Then with the name change, and in parallel the bris mila which occurred then, he gained full control over the other five limbs — the two eyes, the two ears, and the bris kodesh, limbs which without the ko’ach of bris mila are hard to get full control of.

It was with this control of all the limbs, which Avraham Avinu accomplished with his name change and with bris mila, that he gave birth to Yitzchak Avinu.

Perfection in Avodas Hashem

Chazal tell us that HaKodosh Boruch Hu made our matriarchs infertile because He is mis’aveh letfilasam shel tzadikim — He likes, keveyochol, that the tzadikim should pray. Meaning, that He holds that the best thing possible for specific tzadikim, each one according to his spiritual makeup and needs, to accomplish a particular tikun or tikunim via prayer. Yitzchak Avinu, during the time that they still did not merit to have children, I imagine that they took upon themselves all kinds of perfection in their Avodas Hashem, including in their prayer, so that in that merit they should have children.

Thus the similarity with Avraham Avinu — in the same way that Avraham had Yitzchak only after he reached a certain perfection in his Avodas Hashem, similarly Yitzchak Avinu first had to accomplish his perfection before he was able to have Yaacov Avinu.

I suggest understanding that this included in the verse — “These are the descendants of Yitzchak ben Avraham, Avraham fathered Yitzchak.” That the descendants of Yitzchak came about in a similar way to that which Avraham fathered Yitzchak, that is after he was called already Avraham, and had full control over all of the limbs, in the same way these are the descendants of Yitzchak ben Avraham.

I’ll write about the second pshat of Rashi in a different post, Click Here.

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