Parsha Toldot like many other Torah Portions has a sense of ambiguity to it. This ambiguity is what makes the Torah’s lessons relevant for people living yesterday, today, tomorrow, for both male and females, people of all ages, and for everyone scattered across this globe we call Earth. When I decided to try my hand at Dvar-ing (is that even a word?) I tried to forget everything that I know about our collective spiritual ancestors. I didn’t want to infuse each week’s reading with some socio-political agenda or pen a modern day discussion citing great Jewish minds past and present like Rambam and Elie Wiesel, who knows maybe the next cycle I will focus my Dvrei through that looking glass. As I sat down to once again read the story of Jacob and Esau’s relationship with each other and their parents all I could think about were the concepts of mind over matter and might makes right.
This portion is about twin brothers who when looked at as one person create a deep, complicated, driven individual. The Quarrel between the two is really the conflict we all deal with on a daily basis within ourselves. Jacob leaves his mother’s womb clinging to his brothers heal. This tells us that in Rebecca’s womb as each body split and grew into Esau and Jacob there was a struggle. Esau being the physically stronger was able fight his way out first, Jacob while physically weaker was mentally determined to never give up by clinging to his brother.
As they grew older Esau was manly, hairy, loud, an outdoors man or the extrovert. Jacob was delicate, smooth skinned, quiet, an indoors man or the introvert. The extrovert in the here and now is always dominant while the introvert is able to visualize a goal and piece by piece work towards it only to dominate later. When Esau ate Jacob’s soup he was dominating because he had the soup and was no longer hungry Jacob on the other hand knew what he ultimately wanted and while giving up his meal was able to take a step towards his ultimate goal by making a trade for Esau’s birthright. Later on he tricks his father Isaac into giving him what would have been Esau’s blessing and Esau Jacob’s blessing enraging Esau. Esau’s rage is not at his mother for conspiring against him with Jacob or at his father for going along with the charade, but at his other half Jacob and by default himself.
How often do each of us allow our thoughts and actions to clash within us. How often do you let insecurities stop you from simply just getting better. Better at physical pursuits and better intellectually. There are many times when I am my worst enemy when I quarrel within myself for not being the strongest, the most outgoing, the wittiest. What is your quarrel? How have you reconciled your extrovert and introvert sides?