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Torah Insights for the Younger Tzadikim
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Toldot 5761
November 26 - December 02, 2000 by Reb Yosef

Learning From the Sons of Yitzchak

Yitzchak Avinu (our Father Isaac) had two sons, twins.  Esav and Yaakov (Jacob) were not identical twins and were very different people.  The Torah spells this out from the start with the following at Bereshit (Genesis) Perek Chav-Hay (Chapter 25), pasuk chav-zayin (verse 27): 

27. When the boys grew up, it came to pass that Esav was a man who understood hunting, a man of the field, and Yaakov a single-minded man, dwelling in tents.

First, what do you think it means that Yaakov was a single-minded man?  And what does the Torah mean when it says "dwelling in tents"? 

To find the answers, we have to turn to our Sages who tell us that Yaakov always had his mind on God, and what God expected of him.  With a little thought, we can see that dwelling in tents is just as obvious.  In these days, schools were not made of brick or lumber.  They were tents.  Thus, we can see that Yaakov was dedicated to God and to learning - the highest of ideals.  

Although a bit complex, Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch, has some wonderful thoughts for us that talk about how precious Judaism is.  Judaism teaches that all of us should learn to grow in our own way with the thought that we should "bring up each child in accordance with its own way."  Rav Hirsch tells us that we are individuals, with different strengths and talents, and that when we learn to grow with our minds toward what we do best, we are living in the Jewish way.  Judaism expects us to be the best that we can be.  We may not all be the same.  We are not all the same.  But we can all be good people doing our best to live as Jews and this is exactly what God wants from us.

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Translations in Torah Portions of the week are partially taken from the ArtScroll Stone Edition Chumash and from Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch Chumash

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