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On this Shabbat of Parasha Toldot we also remember the life and legacy on this first anniversary since his passing of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks of blessed memory.

In this week’s portion we follow the story of Rebecca and Isaac and their desire to bear children, for which Hashem blesses them with two sons, Esau and Jacob.

As the story unfolds, we see these two brothers, distinct in their own right. Esau is the hunter and farmer, a man of the fields, while Jacob is the simple-minded, purse man settled in “tents of Torah”. Jacob lived what is explained as a unified existence, the same face, the same person through all the various components of his life, true to his beliefs, true to his faith.  Whereas his brother Esau it is said lived a double life, a different man that he pretended to be, fooling others.

At the crescendo of this week’s Parasha, Esau takes a new wife, yet he was never truly happy with his life.  We learn that Esau continually focused on what with wrong with his wife and not what was wrong in his life.

What Rabbi Sach’s explains and puts forward is that Esau lacked Emunah “faith”.  That Emunah is also having the courage to persist through all the setbacks, through all the grief and never accepting defeat.

In this week’s Torah portion, we see Esau so easily willing to part with aspects of his life that we would also find consequential to our lives, things that bring meaning and purpose, his birth right, his wife, relationships with others.  Yet his father Isaac through it all never gave up on Esau, he continued to bless him in hopes of him to reach his potential.

As so eloquently put by Rabbi Sachs, a key lesson for us to draw this week is that “You are as great as your ideals. If you truly believe in something beyond yourself, you will achieve beyond yourself.”

Artwork by: #JoanneFinkJudaica / #Zenspirations

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