Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Answers to Toldot Questions

1. How old were Yitzchak and Rivka when they got married? (25:20)

The Torah states explicitly that Yitzchak was 40.  Rashi contends that Rivkah was 3.  The Torah mentions her birth immidiately before Sara's death.  Rashi understands that to mean that she was actually born at that time.  Yitzchak was 37 when Sara died so when Yitzchak was 40 then Rivkah was 3.

2. Where did Rivkah go to inquire of Hashem? (25:22)

Rivkah went to the the study hall of Noach's son Shem and his great grandson Eiver.

3. Why was Yaakov cooking lentils? (25:30)

Rashi says that day Avraham had died and Yitzchak was in mourning.  Since the days of Avraham the Jewish tradition has been to eat round foods when in mourning because round foods remind us that mourning is a turning wheel.  

4. How is Esav compared to a pig? (26:34)

Eisav deceived his father and presented himself as saintly.  The pig has one of the signs of a kosher animal, split hooves, but it does not chew its cud.  As if the pig shows its hooves saying, "look at me, I am kosher."  But his insides are really not.

5. How did Yitzchak become blind? (27:1)

Rashi gives 3 reasons.  1. So that Yaakov should not see Eisav's wives committing idolatry, 2. His sight was somehow impaired at the Akeida (I never really understood that) and 3. It was divinely orchestrated so that the episode with the brachot could occur.

6. How did Yaakov's voice differ from Esav? (25:22)

Yaakov respectfully requested his father to rise.  Eisav ordered his father t rise.

7. In verse 28:5 why does the Torah remind us that Rivka was Yaakov and Esav's mother?

In one of his many demonstrations of humility, Rashi says, "I don't know."