Parashat Toldot - Be Real with Yourself

Isaac and Rivka get married, Rivka enters Sarah's tent and fills her place and thus Isaac finds solace after the death of his mother.

The years go by and they still have no children. Praying and begging God, and behold, after twenty years of marriage God hears the prayer of our father Isaac and Rebecca becomes pregnant.

Then, the Torah says that the joy is cut off during pregnancy. "The children struggled in her womb, and she said, “If so, why do I exist?” She went to inquire of the LORD"

Our Sages explain, during Rebecca's pregnancy she felt something strange. There are always new and strange feelings in pregnancy, but it was even stranger. When she would pass next to a shul or Yeshiva, the baby would kick as if he wants to go out to there that instance. But when she would pass a house of idol worship, she would get the same feeling. Because of this, she didn’t understand what she has in her womb. Immediately, Rivka “Went to ask god”. She went to the Yeshiva of Shem (son of Noah) to speak with him because he was a prophet of God in those times.

And then, “The Lord said to her, two nations are in your womb, and two kingdoms will separate from your innards...” He replied that she had two children in her womb, and that two great nations will come out of them.

After Rebecca heard this she calmed down. No longer asking " why do I exist ", suddenly everything is fine.

But why? What comforted did she find in God’s words? She thought she had one child and God told her she had two children, but still, one of them would be evil.

Rather, at first Rebecca thought it was one child who on the one hand wanted Torah and mitzvot, and on the other hand wanted idol worship. God answered her that it was two children, one righteous and one wicked. Such a person who wants both holiness and impurity, who lives his life in both worlds, is very difficult to be brought back on the right path, even when shown his evil deeds. He is convinced that he is fine because of his spirituality, even though he still has the second side. But when it comes to evil person the situation is different, he is indeed evil now, but over time he can change because he knows he is wrong. When he learns and understands, there is a chance he will leave his evil way and open a new page in a good way.

It's easy to talk about other people, but if we think about it, these two characters exist in us. In our life we strive to do good, strive to be good people. However, sometimes we fail, and we also do bad things, or behave inappropriately. We are human beings. The question is, how will we behave after.

In such a situation there are two options to behave. One option is to admit the mistake, apologize, repent, try to do better going forward. The second option is to lie to ourselves and those around us, to come up with a thousand excuses to justify our actions, even though deep down we know the truth.

The number one formula for spiritual and physical success is truth. Firstly, to be truthful with myself. When I am truthful with myself. So when it is a bad thing I recognize that it is not good and try to get better. But a person who is not real with himself, can not get better, because in his eyes he is perfect.

Rabbi Aviram Biton


©2020 by Rabbi Biton - The Jewish Experience CT

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