Torah Portion

Toldot

תולדות

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

Dr.
Rachel Adelman
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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
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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
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Topics
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Genesis

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