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Parshas Toldot Inspirations

Welcome to another exciting Parsha. As Rabbi Nachman said – the Parsha is about you and me. It Is Toldot. Let’s learn and connect to what has kept the Jewish people alive and vibrant over the last 2000 years and more It is poignant as ever this week.

Our Parsha starts off with the story of how Yitzhak and Rivka were praying for children. It then goes on to the story of Yaakov and Eisav. Two Brothers – One a man happy to sit in his Tent and the other a Hunter. Each one had a different path and the climax of the Parsha is when Jacob receives the blessing from his Father Yitzhak. We all know the story and the vibrations are felt until day. Jacob represents the Jewish people while Easav – Rome and the Christian People.

In this Dramatic scene Yitzhak says “ The voice is Yaakov’s , but the hands are the hands of Eisav"

So, all the Commentators ask why could not Yaakov just not put on Eisav’s Voice?

In this rare recording from Reb Shlomo emphasisng that even though we may dress like Eisav , our voices are the voices and thoughts are Kol Yaakov - Pure , truthful and Jewish. He further explains that even when we are forced to take up Arms (The hands of Eisav), Our voice and hearts are one of compassion seeking peace.

Another thought that I heard from Rabbi Beny Rabinowitz (Ex Rabbi of Edgware United Synogogue) , who lives in our neighbourhood was that Yaakov spoke in a pleasant way mentioning his success is due to Hashem. This contrasted to Eisav's way of talking. His message was that we should learn from Yaakov and only speak to each in a pleasant manner.

Reb Shlomo Carlebach on Parsha Toldos - Doing somebody a favour

We learned something awesome from the Ropshitzer.

When Yitzchak was praying for children it says the most beautiful thing.

It says “Vaye’aser lo Hashem” (Bereishis 25:11). The shallow translation is “and God answered him.” Why shouldn’t God answer? So the Ropshitzer says, “Vaye’aser lo Hashem,” Yitzchak’s praying for children so strong that even God began praying that Yitzchak should have children. “Vaye’aser lo Hashem,” he made God pray.

Do you know how deep this is? It’s the deepest depths there is.

Imagine my baby asks me to give them something. If I love her a little bit, I just give her what she asked for. If I love her the most, I want her to have it as much as she wants to have it. You see what it is, it’s not that I am just giving it to my baby. My baby’s wanting it so deep that I want her to have it; suddenly, I take over her praying.

Do you see here what Yitzchak is showing us? Yitzchak brought down into the world that God’s answer to my prayer for children is not just that I’m asking for children and he says, “Okay, I’ll send some orders for the merchandise.” It mamesh becomes God’s prayer.

Have you ever asked someone for a favor and after they do me the favor, we are not such good friends anymore? I walk away from it and I say, “Thank you very much,” I’m very thankful but nothing happens afterwards. And then sometimes I ask someone for a favor and we become so close. What’s the difference? If I asked them for a favor and they say, “Okay, I’ll give it to you,” it’s a onetime act. But if this person answers back, “I want you to have what you are asking for as much as you yourself want to have it,” suddenly my soul and the other person’s soul become one.

You can ask me for a glass of water, and suddenly I truly want you to have a glass of water in the strongest way. When this happens I taste the depths of your soul, and then we are friends forever.

Good Shabbos!

Reb Shlomo Brodt z'l on Parshas Toldot

Dear friends and family “ad 120 b'simcha”

Shalom uvracha from Yerushalayim!

Very briefly, we learned this week (אגרת הקודש ל"א) that we need to daaven for the wellbeing of the Holy Shechina as well as for our own wellbeing. The Alter Rebbe illustrates the relationship of the Shechina with B’nai Yisrael- the Children of Yisrael with a holistic parable – the heart [the Shechina] delivers life energy to all parts of the body [the souls of B’nai Yisrael]. It is a circulatory system and so long as all parts are in unity and working in harmony, all is good and they return healthy blood back to the heart and it remains healthy. Otherwise, ‘chas v’shalom’ the heart can get ill. Similarly, we are in a circulatory relationship with the Shechina and its wellbeing is affected by our unity or lack thereof. B’ezrat Hashem I hope to complete this after Shabbos. In the meantime ‘bless me and I bless you back’ to achieve true unity and live in harmony b’simcha. Have a wonderful Shabbat b’ahavah ubivracha Sholom

Could someone please tell us why the Chabad girls schools are named Bais Rivkah?

Our Mother Rivkah

This has been and still is a very painful week. May Hashem have compassion on us and bring about the complete redemption NOW.

From Rivkah Imeinu we learn that even one who grows up in the midst of evil people, even in the midst of an evil family, is still capable of living and fulfilling their ideals of righteousness and holiness.

Rivkah Imeinu also teaches us how to conduct ourselves in this great struggle and how to deal with the ensuing self-doubt. Reb Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev teaches us that Rivkah did at first, doubt her connection to Hashem. Though she did feel a connection to holiness during her pregnancy as it says in the Midrash, nevertheless because it was such a difficult pregnancy, she questioned her connection to "Anochi" – to the One who said, "Anochi Hashem Elokecha- I Am Hashem your G-d."

After our mother Rivkah was informed that she was carrying twins who were very different from one another and would be wrestling against each other until the end when the "older one will serve the younger one", the Torah does not tell anything more about how she felt? Did she just accept this pain? What did she do with it? What should we / can we do with our pain?

Pain is necessary for survival. Pain motivates us to protect ourselves; and spiritually pain can lead us to do tshuvah. I wonder what our mother Rivkah did with her pain when she found out that one of her children might turn to idolatry and violence. When Hashem said to the woman: "I will greatly multiply thy pain and thy travail; in pain thou shalt bring forth children," what did she do with the pain? It must be, for sure that our mothers found some way to do something positive with this knowledge. Surely they were motivated by their pain to pray for their children even more than ever before. I imagine that somehow they tried to use their pain to give us strength to overcome our evil inclinations.

I am sure that רבקה אמנו our mother Rivkah is still praying for all of her children until Moshiach is coming. We have no idea as to what extent her prayers are answered, but I have no doubt that they are answered. Surely she prays that none of us will give in to evil. Surely she prays that Yaakov will continue to have the strength to never give up. Surely she prays that Eisav and that all of us will do tshuvah and that we will come to realize how much we need to be connected with real tzadikkim and tzadkkaniot. Surely she is praying that we will not stop praying.

Hashem we have already had so much pain in our lives, please guide us quickly to know how to best use it so that we should merit Your גאולה שלימה Complete Redemption with the coming of Moshiach NOW.

May all of Israel Have a wonderful and healing Shabbos b'ahavah ubivracha sholom

One of the deepest miracles of Chanukah is the very discovery of the only remaining small flask of pure olive oil. The miracle of Chanukah in our personal lives is to discover that even when you are about to give up- don't! Keep on looking until you find that tiniest amount of pure light within, and though it may be only a small quantity by this worldly standards it is enough with Hashem's help, to illuminate your darkest nights and connect you beyond this world. Remember! A Jew doesn't give up!

The reconstructed Menorah in the Old City. The Lubavitcher Rebbe זצ"ל held that according to the Rambamthe menorah of the Beit Hamikdash was shaped in an angular fashioon similar to the one above.

Consider your Neshama - your soul, Hashem's candle!

CHODESH TOV! May you and all of Israel be blessed with a wonderful and joyous new month, a month of healing light, and joyous light. I hope that every one is B"H very well and that all who need a healing are getting better b'ezrat Hashem.

"KI NEIR MITZVAH V'TORAH OHR" EACH MITZVAH IS A CANDLE AND TORAH IS LIGHT! Reb Shlomo zt"l explained that fire is associated with 'kedusha' holiness; that is why with one candle light you can light an infinite amount of candles. Such is the power of KEDUSHA! When you share your light you don't lose any of your own light; you actually will always have more as a result. Chanukkah is coming- May we all be blessed to discover the pure light within us and let us share it joyously with the whole world.

What is the connection between parshat Toldot and blessing the new moon of Kislev and Channukah? The word 'Toldot' means those things which you birth, your offspring; hopefully these will bring goodness and blessing into the world and will continue to beget and birth more and more goodness and kindness. When you share something with all your heart, when you give tzedakkah with all your heart then the recipient is also inspired to share and give. When you discover the deepest essence of your being, your neshama light, you realize your light and are most inspired to share it with the world.

That is why we place the Chanukah candles at our doorways and light them at dusk when it is already a little dark outside, and getting darker. Every one of us must discover Hashem’s light within and every one of us is required to illuminate the darkness. We all share a common light and every one of us has a unique spark of light. There is a certain aspect of darkness that only you can illuminate.

We need light right away even while there is still a little daylight left; we can’t wait until it’s completely dark. When we think that we already have or own all the light we need, it’s already getting darker. When the light is about to disappear we realize that we need a higher, a deeper light that can shine and illuminate through all darkness. We need Hashem’s holy light to illuminate this world. We need to discover and connect with our deepest light to beget "toldos" that will continue to bring Hashem's holy light into this world.

Illuminate with Joy! Have a wonderful Shabbos b’ahavah ubivracha,


Fathers, Mothers, Children, Brothers and Sisters

Reb Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev points out that until Yaakov Avinu, the transmission of "the seed of Avraham" i.e. being a Jew, did not occur automatically. Just because your father and mother were Jewish, did not necessarily mean that you too would be Jewish; it depended on whether or not you chose to follow the righteous path of Avraham and Sara, of Yitzchak and Rivkah. Thus, Yishmael was the 'son of Avraham', but not the 'seed of Avraham'. Likewise, Eisav was the 'son of Yitzchak', but did not merit being the 'seed of Avraham and Yitzchak'. It is only from Yaakov Avinu and onward that a child born to Jewish parents is inherently a Jew and a carrier of the seed of Avraham, be he or she, righteous or not.

We see in the Torah that both Sarah Imeinu and Rivka Imeinu were barren for significant periods of their lives. It was only after much prayer and Divine intervention that they gave birth. Yishmael was born without any special prayers. Yitzchak, however, did not come into this world until Sarah and Avraham prayed for many decades to receive him. Yaakov Avinu also was not born until his parents prayed fervently to be blessed with child. It is particularly interesting that Eisav who came to be known as Eisav Harasha- Eisav the wicked one, also came into this world as a result of these very same prayers.

Concerning Eisav, we find that only his head ended up being buried together with his fathers and mothers in the M'arat HaMachpelah in Chevron. Intellectually, he was all for righteousness, and thus, his head 'made it.' However, he did not manage to convince his 'nefesh ha'bahamit'- his animal soul, to participate in serving Hashem. [Indeed, many of us experience the same difficulty; all too often we allow ourselves to be convinced either by others or ourselves that we'll never overcome this inner division between our head and heart.]

Both Avraham and Yitzchak were deeply concerned and pained about their two sons who were not following the path of the righteous. When Sarah decided that Yishmael had to be sent away, Avraham was very disturbed by this; Hashem had to come and tell him to listen to Sarah.

Yitzchak Avinu knew prophetically that Edom and subsequently the Roman Empire would be the descendants of his son Eisav and that they would destroy the second Beit Hamikdash and drive the children of Yaakov into the longest and most severe exile. There is no clear mention of what this felt like for Yitzchak; it's even too difficult to imagine the deep pain this knowledge caused him. It was only our mothers Sarah and Rivkah that knew which of the children were the true seed of Avraham; they are the ones who took the decisive actions to make sure that the rightful offspring inherited Avraham's seed.

Although both Avraham and Yitzchak knew the same things as Sarah and Rivkah did, they still attempted to find a way to change these realities. Yitzchak decided to bless Eisav, hoping that thereby Eisav would do tshuvah. But that was not meant to be, and when Yitzchak realized this, he pronounced that the blessings legitimately belonged to Yaakov.

But we need to understand the significance Eisav being born together with Yaakov. During her pregnancy, when Rivkah prayed to Hashem for clarity, Hashem told her that Eisav and Yaakov would struggle against one another until the end when finally the older one would "serve the younger." Eventually the nefesh ha'bahamit [represented by Eisav] will join and serve the nefesh ha'Elokit [represented by Yaakov]. The nefesh ha'bahamit possesses much energy and passion, which the nefesh ha'Elokit on its own is lacking. Eisav will find his redemption only by joining with the tzaddik. Likewise, those of us who will never achieve the level of tzaddik, the level at which darkness is transformed into light and bitter into sweet, can nevertheless find our redemption and achieve the level of behaving like a tzaddik. To do this, we mamash have to connect ourselves with the true tzaddik.

What are a father and mother to do? When we are confronted by the negative results of our own mistakes, when we see the problems that our behaviors brought upon our children, we may easily fall into despair. But Hashem is compassionate and sends along children and students who are truly connected and these children mamash want to save us. They see us as we are, they see that we have given up on our dreams; that we no longer attempt to be as great as we can and were meant to be. And they care, they care very deeply and they want to help us. When we get to such a low point, we have to pray very deeply to allow ourselves to be helped by them and not allow our foolish pride to prevent us from admitting to our mistakes. Often we crash because we don't recognize the truth about ourselves. We think that we are better than we really are and when we are confronted by the truth we get upset and turn our backs on Hashem and on ourselves. There is nothing wrong with not being who you are not, but there is something very wrong about not being who you are and can be. As the Rebbe Reb Zusha told his students before he left this world, the only question that he really feared was when Hashem would ask him, "Zusha, why weren't you Zusha?" There is nothing wrong with needing the help of one's children or one's friends to return and come closer to Hashem. Let's hope and pray that we won't be too haughty to receive their help when it is offered. May we all be blessed to smell the fragrance of the Garden of Eden accompanying our children. Amen.

This Is About You and Me and Every One of Us

And these are the descendants of Yitzchak the son of Avraham; Avraham fathered Yitzchak. Yitzchak was forty years old when he took Rivkah - the daughter of Besuel the Aramite, the sister of Lavan the Aramite, for himself as a wife. Yitzchak prayed to G-d, opposite his wife, because she was barren. G-d accepted his prayer, and his wife Rivkah conceived.

The children struggled inside her. She said, "If so, why am I?" She went to seek Hashem. G-d said to her, "There are [two esteemed individuals the forebears of ] two nations in your womb, two kingdoms will separate from your innards, kingdom against kingdom will struggle. The elder will serve the younger."

The term of her pregnancy was complete, and behold, there were twins in her womb. The first one came out reddish and completely (covered in hair), like a fur coat of hair. They named him Eisav (Esau). Afterwards his brother emerged, and his hand was grasping Eisav's heel. He called his name, Yaakov. Yitzchak was sixty years old when they were born."

Bereishis 25: 19-26.

We have learned in the past the teaching of Rebbe Nachman zt"l, that when we learn the stories in the Torah, we must find ourselves in these stories. As long as you think that these are stories are only about other people, you are missing the point and don't yet understand the depth of the story. It's about you and me, it's about every one of us. We are in these stories and we have yet to resolve them fully. So too concerning the above passage describing Rivkah's pregnancy and the birth of the Yaakov and Eisav.