Toldot | ?????? | Family History” – “These are the generations”

The Hebrew word toldot is the major structural word of the Book of Genesis. It is expressed by the clause “these are the generations of” as is seen in the toldot of the heavens and the earth (Gen 2:4-4:26), the toldot of Adam (Gen 5:1-6:8), the toldot of Noah (Gen 6:9-9:29), the toldot of the sons of Noah (Gen 10:1-11:9), the toldot of Shem (Gen 11:10-26), the toldot of Terah (Gen 11:27-25:11), the toldot of Ishmael (Gen 25:12-18), the toldot of Isaac (Gen 25:19-35:29), the toldot of Esau (Gen 36:1-37:1), and the toldot of Jacob (Gen 37:2-50:26).

All the generations, therefore, from Abraham unto David are fourteen generations, and from David unto the Babylonian removal fourteen generations, and from the Babylonian removal unto the Messiah, fourteen generations – Matthew 1:17

The sixth reading from the book of Genesis is named Toldot (??????), which means “generations.” It is so named because the Torah portion begins with the words “Now these are the records of the generations of Isaac” (Genesis 25:19). Toldot tells us the story of the birth of Jacob and Esau and their struggle for the birthright and blessing of their father, Isaac. We also learn about Isaac’s trials and difficulties in the land of Canaan. The portion concludes with Jacob’s deception of Isaac in order to procure the family blessing.


“And these are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son” Rabbi Yosi asks, What has changed? It did not say, “Abraham’s son”. For although it is written, “Elohim blessed his son Isaac” (Beresheet 25:11)

And these are the generations of Isaac…” (Beresheet 25:19). Rabbi Chiya opened the discussion with the verse, “Who can utter the mighty acts of Hashem? Who can declare all His praise?” (Tehilim – Psalms 106:2). Come and behold, when the Holy One, blessed be He, wished to create the world, He did so according to the Torah. And every act that the Holy One, blessed be He, used to create the world was done according to the Torah. This is the meaning of, “then I was by him, as a nursling, and I was daily his delight” (Mishlei 8:30). Do not pronounce it as “a nursling,” (Heb. amon) but rather ‘a Craftsman’ (Heb. oman).

The Skilled Craftsmen

The great tzaddikim are those seen as unifying above and below, which in both the past and future is symbolized by the establishing of G-d’s Tabernacle/Temple on earth. Three people who come to mind are Moses, Betzalel and Yeshua.

Now the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have called by name Bezalel, son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah. I have filled him with the Spirit of G-d in wisdom(Chochmah) and skill, in understanding(Binah) and intelligence, in knowledge(Da’at), and in all kinds of Craftsmanship…………….. Exodus 31: 1-6

Or, to put it another way, you are G-d’s house. Using the gift G-d gave me as a good architect, I designed blueprints; Apollos is putting up the walls. Let each Carpenter who comes on the job take care to build on the foundation! Remember, there is only one foundation(Yesod), the one already laid: Yeshua HaMashiach ( i.e Righteous one) – 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 (MSG)


The Tzaddik who associates himself with Mashiach through Torah may become “one” with him ( 1 John 2:3-6). This union enables a person to share in the soul or “mind” of the Mashiach (1 Corinthians 2:16).


In kabbalah, the aspect of “tov” is associated with the Sephirah of Yesod (foundation) which is the idea of the (divine) “tzaddik” — or “Righteous one.”

  • Betzalel, the numerical value of whose name is 153, which is the sum of the numbers between 1 and 17 (the “triangle” of 17).
  • Moses, whom the Torah says that his mother looked upon him as a baby and said that he as “tov” (good), the numerical value of which is 17. 
  • Yeshua, who directed his disciples to recast their nets to the “right side” of their boats, with the following consequence: 153Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three – John 21:11



Genesis 2:4-4:26 ; Genesis 6: 9

Genesis 25:19-28:9 ; Numbers 3 : 1

Numbers 1:20-40

Haftarah Portion


Ruth 4:18 ; Malachi 1:1-2:7

Hosea 1 : 8-10 ; Psalms 37:3

Isaiah 44:1, 2 ; Psalm 2: 7

Isaiah 9 : 6 ; Micah 2:12-13

Ha-Berit ha-Hadashah


Luke 3:1-18 ; Romans 9:1-31

Romans 3 : 20 – 24 ; Luke 10:19

Romans 16:20 ; Hebrews 1:12-13


Parashat Toldot relates the story of the birth of Jacob and Esau and the struggle between them. In this parasha, Esau sells his birthright to Jacob for a lentil stew, and Jacob dupes his father, Isaac, by receiving the blessing meant for Esau. Rebecca and Jacob both collaborate in fooling Isaac in order to steal Esau’s blessing. At the end of the parasha, Isaac, knowing that Jacob will continue in his path, sends him to Padan Aram to find a wife, and bestows on him Abraham’s blessing that he will inherit the land: “And Isaac called Jacob and blessed him…And G-d Almighty bless you and make you fruitful, and multiply you, that you may be a congregation of nations, and give you the blessing of Abraham, to you and to your seed with you, that you may inherit the land of your sojournings which G-d gave unto Abraham”. (Genesis 28:1-4).

Toldot begins with an account of the generation of “Isaac the son of Abraham,” and adds, “Abraham begat Isaac.” Why the repetition.

The verse, in its apparent repetition, is teaching us something about the relation of these four forms of service. The order of the names (Isaac, Abraham, Abraham, Isaac) tells us that the order of the worship of G-d starts with the lower fear, ascends to the lower love, and then to the higher love, and finally reaches its highest point in the higher fear. The lower begets the higher, for though one starts by worshipping G-d for ulterior motives, one eventually comes to do it for its own sake. And this applies to all Jews (that they must serve G-d with both love and fear), for Abraham and Isaac and Jacob are called the “Fathers” of the Jewish people, meaning that all their descendants have inherited their capacities and the obligation to use them.

The Midrash comments: “Isaac was crowned with Abraham and Abraham was crowned with Isaac.” Each was the other’s pride.

The Zohar explains that Abraham stands symbolically for the soul (and Sarah, for the body. For the Torah says, “And Sarah died,” meaning the body, which is mortal; while about Abraham it is written “And Abraham arose above the face of his dead,” alluding to the soul, which transcends death). Isaac, whose name means “laughing” or “rejoicing,” stands for the pleasures which the soul will have in the world to come. So the verse, thus translated, reads: “Pleasure will be the reward to the soul” (“Isaac, the son of Abraham”) in the world to come, if “the soul begets pleasures (“Abraham begat Isaac”) by its service in this world.

The Prayers of the Righteous:

The Talmud says, “Why were our ancestors barren? Because the Holy One, blessed be He, longs to hear the prayer of the righteous” (b.Yevamot 64a).

Rashi makes two notes on the Hebrew wording of Genesis 25:21. When it says that Isaac prayed, it uses a word that implies entreaty. Rashi explains that this means Isaac persistently prayed on her behalf. We can assume that Isaac had been praying throughout the twenty years of her barrenness. That’s persistent prayer.

Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren; and the LORD answered him and Rebekah his wife conceived. (Genesis 25:21)

Isaac waited 20 years to pray for his wife to have his child. The Zohar tells us that G-d wants to answer to the prayers of Tzadikim. They have big and pure channel and their prayers create a large vessel that gives YHVH‘opportunity’ to send high level of Light to fill and fulfill that vessel.

Rebecca’s pregnancy is “granted to her” due to her righteousness and prayer as well as that of her husband Isaac. Yet, she endures great agony during this time, and according to the Midrash, she expressed the thought that if she had known it would be so painful she would not have wished to become pregnant. It is also taught that when she would walk near a house of Torah study, Jacob would become very active in her womb, struggling to get out. However, when she walked near a house of idol worship, Esau would to the same.

Jacob’s holding onto Esau’s heel as they were born may represent several things. One of these is that Jacob’s kingdom (that of Messiah) will come on the heels of Esau’s (Rome/Babylon).

Yeshua teaches us to pray persistently. Yeshua told another parable about the power of persistent prayer. He compared it to a man who needed to borrow food from his neighbor to feed an unexpected guest, but his neighbor had already gone to bed. The man continued to entreat his neighbor until the man eventually got out of bed and gave him what he needed. If persistent entreaty works on a lazy, reluctant neighbor, how much more so on G-d, who neither slumbers nor sleeps. (Luke 11:5–8) Yeshua encouraged us to pray persistently, saying, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Luke 11:9).

“The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau!” The allusion to voice as characteristic of Jacob and to hands as being the particular domain of Esau is not surprising.

Thus, Beresheet Rabbah notes that “Jacob wields power only by his voice. . .and Esau wields power only by his hands. who said that “when Jacob speaks wrathfully with his voice, the hands of Esau have dominion; when his voice rings out clearly, the hands of Esau have no dominion.”

There are two forces within every person – that of the body and that of the soul. Esau represents concerns of the body – selfishness, ego, materialism. Jacob represents soul consciousness, the desire to connect to spirituality.

We are slaves to our corporeal needs and desires. It is written in Ethics of the Fathers, “When there’s no flour, there will be no Torah”; if one doesn’t have enough to eat, one cannot study Torah. But the body without a soul cannot sustain life. A house without a soul is just walls and pieces of furniture

All the Generations…- Forty Two

All the generations, therefore, from Abraham unto David are fourteen generations, and from David unto the Babylonian removal fourteen generations, and from the Babylonian removal unto the Messiah, fourteen generations – Matthew 1:17


These are the journeys of the children of Israel, which went forth out of the land of Egypt with their armies under the hand of Moses and Aaron. And Moses wrote their goings out according to their journeys by the commandment of the LORD: and these are their journeys according to their goings out – Numbers 33:1-2

The most obvious example would be the four-letter name of G-d, YHWH. There are also other “names” of G-d referred to in Judaism, including one with twelve letters, one with forty-two letters, and another containing seventy-two.

Early commentators say that the forty-two letters are a combination of the first forty-two letters of the Torah. The Name may also be associated with the phrase God used to reply to Moses, “Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh”, (“I Am that I Am”), which comes out to 42 in gematria (doubling the value of the Name Ehyeh, which equals 21 in Hebrew numerology.)

Blessing regarding this particular name of God

Talmud – Mas. Kiddushin 71a – The forty-two lettered Name is entrusted only to him who is pious, meek, middle-aged, free from bad temper, sober, and not insistent on his rights. And he who knows it, is heedful thereof, and observes it in purity, is beloved above and popular below, feared by man, and inherits two worlds, this world and the future world.

Although anyone from Yisrael is worthy of blessing the Holy One, blessed be He,.

For then the Holy One, blessed be He, comes to delight with the righteous in the Garden of Eden. And we are here awakened by the words of the Torah…



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