Parshas Toldos
Genesis 25:19 - 28:9

Troubled By The Wrong Name ©
By Dr. Akiva G. Belk

This study of the weekly parsha is dedicated in the loving memory of Mrs. Ethel Sakash Belk, my mother, may she rest in peace.

In Parshas Toldos we read, "The children clashed inside her, and when this happened she said, 'Why am I experiencing this?' She went to inquire of Hashem. Hashem said to her, 'Two nations are in your womb, and two governments will separate from within you. One government will be mightier than the other, but the greater one will serve the smaller one.'" Genesis 25:22,23

This poses a most interesting situation! We have a young mother to be who is feeling a most unusual situation within her body ... let me explain. Our sages state that when Rivkah would pass by the doorways of Torah study at Sheim and Evier, Yaakov would rush to come out and when Rivkah would pass by houses of idol worship Eisov would rush to come out. Can you imagine how Rivkah must have felt? Can you imagine the types of questions and thoughts rushing through her mind when she passed the House of Torah worship and passed the house of idol worship ... ??

We read that she inquired of Hashem regarding her condition. The Torah mentions nothing of speaking with a doctor or with her husband, Yitzchok, about this matter. One might wonder, why didn't Rivkah speak with Avraham Aveinu, her very spiritual father-in-law? The Torah mentions nothing of her speaking with her relatives. The Torah says, "She went to inquire of Hashem..." Genesis 25:22 Rivkah recognized the uniqueness of her situation. She had already come to the understanding that this was a spiritual matter that she didn't understand. Obviously she didn't want outside influence or even the influence of close relatives so we read, "She went to inquire of Hashem." This was between Rivkah and Hashem. Rivkah maintained some very high boundaries of privacy with regards to what she was experiencing.

Where did Rivkah go to inquire of Hashem? She went to the righteous king, Malki Zedek, Sheim, "Kohein {Priest} of the Most High Alm-ghty." She went to the king of spirituality on this earth. Rivkah went to the Rosh Ha Yeshiva of the Yeshiva of Sheim and Evier.

Once she inquired of Hashem we read nothing about the need to maintain secrecy regarding Yaakov and Eisov but she did ... Had Rivkah spoken about these matters it may have affected the way her sons were raised and the way they were treated. It may have created an evil opening / access within a righteous home. It may have shut Eisov out from the opportunity for righteous learning and from the opportunity to make his own choices. It may have sealed his doom before birth had his choices of learning and righteousness been eliminated.

This teaches us something special about a parent's responsibility to their children. Again, a doctor didn't tell Rivkah one child would be different from the other. She didn't hear it from her husband. It was the comment Sheim the Kohein of the Alm-ghty, the world's great religious leader! Even though this was the situation she did not bias the development of either child by accepting the fact one would be righteous and one wouldn't. Holy reader, please keep in mind that it was Hashem Who told Rivkah the differences between Yaakov and Eisov. What Hashem said through Sheim was impeccably reliable. Other sources would have been questionable... Rivkah could bank on what Hashem said! It was definite! Yet, even at that, she chose not to bias the development of the children.

Parents, observe the lesson that our matriarch Rivkah taught us. Even though she knew the ultimate outcome, and most of us don't, she didn't bias the development of her children! This should be a caution sign to every parent: 'Be extremely careful with your comments about and to your children." Rivkah knew one child would be very great. She knew eventually he would serve his brother who would not be as great. Yet we read nothing of Rivkah sharing this news with her two sons or with anyone.

We observe some interesting differences between Yitzchok and and Rivkah regarding the raising of their sons.

We read that both Yitzchok and Rivkah named Eisov. This implies that they were in agreement ...

We read that Yitzchok named Yaakov. This implies that Yitzchok and Rivkah were not in agreement ... Based upon the Torah's description of Yaakov he was not the deceiver as branded from birth by his father. The Torah pronounces that Yaakov, at the age of about fifteen, was "without fault." Genesis 25:27

The Torah gives a brief explanation of Eisov, at about the age of fifteen, as "a skilled trapper, a man of the field" and of Yaakov as "a man without fault living in tents." Genesis 25:27 The Torah states, "Yitzchok loved Eisov because he ate of his trappings, but Rivkah loved Yaakov." This is strange! The Torah states why Yitzchok loved Eisov-- "he ate of his trappings" but the Torah says nothing as to why Rivkah loved Yaakov. However if we put the Torah's statements together with the respective parent, as they are intended to be understood, then the Torah does explain why Rivkah loved Yaakov. Rivkah loved Yaakov because he was "a man without fault, living in tents."

Now, dear reader, the Torah requires us to place these two statements together so we can draw an understanding as to why Rivkah loved Yaakov. This is done for a reason! Every letter, every word of the Torah is direct. This was very intentional!! Simply put, the Torah is acknowledging Rivkah's unspoken, nonverbal yet obvious approval of Yaakov. Rivkah is maintaining her demeanor of being careful with her words about Yaakov and Eisov ... Yet the Torah appears to proclaim her approval of Yaakov. Why is this?

For us to understand Rivkah's approval of Yaakov we need to focus on what the Torah says about him. The Torah says that Yaakov was "a man without fault living in tents."
First, Yaakov was Eesh Tawm, meaning "a man who was innocent, honest,naive, unsophisticated, complete, perfect, whole, pure, harmless." The translators say 'without fault' which does not explain the depth of 'Tawm'. Now, in contrast with Eisov, the Torah establishes an important precedence, " Eisov became a skilled trapper." This precedence is important because of the word Vah Hee, meaning "BECAME"! Eisov became something that he originally was not... "a skilled trapper." Yaakov remained the same. Yaakov did not become something else! He did NOT become something other than what he was intended to be. The Vah Hee is an important distinction!!

Now, holy reader, we must examine what Yaakov was besides 'Tawm'. The Torah says in essence that he was Ya Shayv, meaning Yaakov was content to "dwell, inhabit, live, stay reside, abide, settle" {in} Oh Haw Leem, meaning "tents". What kind of tents did Yaakov find normal? What was natural? What agreed with the essence of what Yaakov was, "a man without fault," innocent, complete and perfect? Our sages say tents of learning... learning with Sheim, the righteous son of Noach, and learning with Eiver, the righteous great grandson of Sheim.

So when the brothers are around the age of fifteen {the time of their father Avraham's death}, the Torah contrast is set. Eisov Vah Hee {became} a skilled, cunning trapper while Yaakov remained with what was natural. Isn't it strange that the son who studied Torah from the world's most acclaimed and learned university was called Yaakov, 'deceiver', from birth by his righteous but unaware father Yitzchok ? ...The father who did not know that the name he chose would come back on him, making him the object of deception. We jump two parshios ahead to Vayishlach, Genesis 32:29, where Eisov's guardian angel blesses Yaakov by stating verbally, "No longer shall your name be spoken of as Yaakov, but {now} as Yisroel..." And where Hashem states to Yaakov, "'Your name is Yaakov, No longer will your name be Yaakov, but Yisroel will be your name.' And He named him Yisroel." Genesis 35:10

For ninety-one years Yaakov was spoken of as the 'deceiver', the name given to him from birth by his father. He lived with the impact of his name. He lived with the fallout from his name. In fact Yaakov changed the essence of what his name meant to one of pride and dignity, of one 'without fault'. Now we proudly call our children by the name of Yaakov!

Unfortunately Yitzchok could not undo the bias from the name Yaakov. Yitzchok said to Eisov, "Your brother {not 'my son'} came with cunning and he took your blessing. Eisov said, 'Is he not rightly called Yaakov? He has deceived me {not 'you, my father'} twice; he took my birthright, and now he has taken my blessing.'"

Now, holy reader, to Yitzchok his second son was a Yaakov, a deceiver. To Rivkah the second son was wrongly branded with the name that carried the essence of a deceiver, Yaakov, but in her heart Yaakov was Yisroel. Holy reader, just as Yitzchok had improperly named his second son Yaakov "the deceiver," he pronounced the deception-- the verbal bias--that would eventually fulfill this name. Just as Yitzchok could not undo the blessing obtained by Yaakov through deceit, he could not undo the name which created the deceit!! At the same time he recognized the power of the name he gave Yaakov by realizing the power of the blessing he gave to Yaakov.

Holy reader, the impact of what we call... or say... or name is powerful...VERY POWERFUL! In the future don't say to your children 'You are stupid' when they do something STUPID because all that does is plant the seed and, G-d forbid, the prophesy for the next stupid thing... Instead say 'You are intelligent and I expect more from you than this.' It is the proper way to deal with our feelings when we are tempted to lash out improperly.

Yitzchok eventually realized his error. His acknowledgment was in the sincerity of his blessing to Yaakov his second son before he sent him to his Uncle Lavan. Yitzchok gave Yaakov and his descendants the blessing of his {Yaakov's} grandfather Avraham. Genesis 28:1-5

Eisov would eventually realize his error in Genesis 32 even though he would not be able to accept it.

Holy reader, our words are very powerful tools, we MUST be careful how we employ them! Holy reader, are you troubled by the wrong name? Then use the correct name! Use the name that has the power to alter the problem. Change the situation by using the correct name. Speak the words that will build and alter character not repeat the same problem! To be very pointed with some of our readers, I AM NOT REFERRING TO JESUS! I am saying reverse your trend! Don't speak what you feel, speak what you want to happen. Again, for example, don't say, 'You are stupid.' Instead say, 'You are intelligent and I expect more from you than this.'

Wishing you the best!

Dr. Akiva G. Belk

Weekly Studies

JewishPath is a sponsor of B'nai Noach Torah Institute. As a sponsor we are permitted to offer one FREE E-Mail course on a limited basis per individual from BNTI's Introduction Courses. We invite you to visit and choose an E - Mail Intro Course. BNTI offers Intro Courses in Judaism and Spirituality {7 Noaich Laws}. BNTI Responses are NOT AUTO!!

B'nai Noach Torah Institute offers dozens of tuition e - mail courses. Please visit BNTI's Tuition Courses page.
For Jewish Classmates: Gematria, Parsha, Tehillim, Medos, High Holidays and many more...
For Spiritualist Classmates: Bereishis, Torah, Blessings, Intro. Hebrew and many more...