Torah Portion

Toledot

תולדות

Genesis 25:19-28:9
Malachi 1:1-2:7

Rashi on the Torah: What Kind of Commentary Is It?

Rashi on the Torah: What Kind of Commentary Is It?

Rashi (Rabbi Solomon b. Isaac) wrote the most famous Jewish Bible commentary in history. Over 900 years later, scholars still argue about the nature of the commentary: Is it an attempt to explain peshat, the plain meaning of the biblical text, or is it an anthology of midrash?

Prof. Rabbi
Marty Lockshin
TheGemara.com
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TheGemara.com
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TheGemara.com

Israel’s History as a Family Narrative

Israel’s History as a Family Narrative

Behind the story of Jacob’s struggle with his older twin Esau, stands a political allegory, reflecting how Israel (=Jacob) first dominated Edom (=Esau) in the 10th-9th centuries and then lost control over it in the late 8th century.

Prof.
Marvin A. Sweeney
TheGemara.com
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TheGemara.com
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TheGemara.com

A Monogamous Isaac Prays for His Barren Wife

A Monogamous Isaac Prays for His Barren Wife

Midrash Chad Shenati, discovered in the Cairo Genizah, criticizes Abraham for not praying for Sarah and praises Isaac for praying for Rebekah, and gives Rebekah pride of place in its homiletic exposition of the parasha.

Dr.
Shana Strauch-Schick
TheGemara.com
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Dr.
Moshe Lavee
TheGemara.com
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TheGemara.com

Primeval Coats

Primeval Coats

Clothing, beginning with Joseph’s coat, functions both as a marker of distinction and as the source of undoing in the Joseph story. Pirkei de-Rabbi Eliezer adds layers of history to this coat: it is the original garments made from the sloughed skin of the serpent that God gave to Adam and Eve, which was then worn by Nimrod, Esau, and Jacob. Midrash Tanchuma claims it to be the (future) High Priest’s tunic.

Prof.
Rachel Adelman
TheGemara.com
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TheGemara.com
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TheGemara.com

Looking Through the Window: A Gendered Motif

Looking Through the Window: A Gendered Motif

Abimelech, Michal, Sisera’s mother, and Jezebel all look through a window, but their experience is not the same.

Prof.
Aaron Demsky
TheGemara.com
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TheGemara.com
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TheGemara.com

Rebecca’s Character

Rebecca’s Character

Rebecca, informed by God of her sons’ destinies, thwarts her husband’s effort to bless Esau. The Torah thus portrays an assertive Rebecca in contrast to a weak and uninformed Isaac. Early Jewish interpreters took conflicting approaches to this unusual depiction of a patriarchal couple.

Dr.
Malka Zeiger Simkovich
TheGemara.com
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TheGemara.com
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TheGemara.com

Toledot

תולדות

Genesis 25:19-28:9

וַיִּגַּשׁ יַעֲקֹב אֶל יִצְחָק אָבִיו וַיְמֻשֵּׁהוּ וַיֹּאמֶר הַקֹּל קוֹל יַעֲקֹב וְהַיָּדַיִם יְדֵי עֵשָׂו׃

בראשית כז:כב

So Jacob drew close to his father Isaac, who felt him and wondered. “The voice is the voice of Jacob, yet the hands are the hands of Esau.”

Gen 27:22

Genesis

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