Leah’s Blog Parashat Toldot 2023
Toldot – Vayishlach November 23, 2023
If you have been here and I have taken you up to the mountain of the three seas (866 meters above sea level), you have seen the Yabbok crossing to the east of here. In this sunny afternoon the mountains of Jordan look pink and peaceful facing the sun setting here in Israel on the Mediterranean Sea. A tributary to the Jordan River, from a higher place than where we are standing (1,090 meters above sea level) the Yabbok flows through a cleft in the mountain’s chin down into the Jordan River. The water flows in a wild and deep ravine in a path carved out into the valley. The Yabbok is located exactly between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea, facing Sukkot, a place in the Jordan Valley where Yaakov spent two years before following the path to Shechem. It was here at the river bank of the Yabbok that Yaakov met and wrestled the angel of Esav. Yaakov, as we know him was a gentle and caring man that “stayed in tents” while his brother Esav was a cunning hunter with a careless sense of entitlement. Chazal tell us that he caused great distress at home. He liked to torture his subjects, the impact of such a persona forced Yaakov to leave to his family to Charan into the house of Lavan. Esav married Pagan women and eventually intermarried with the Yishmael clan. Yaakov as we know married Leah and Rachel plus two handmaids, Bilhah and Zilpah who all bore and built up the tribes of Israel. The Land of Israel is described as a place where אבניה ברזל- her rocks are built of IRON- while each letter of the word BARZEL indicate Bilhah, Rachel, Zilpah, Leah. Toldot has told us all we need to know about the root of the split in birthright. In Toldot Yaakov appears a “nehbuch” white faced, smooth skinned wimp. In Vayishlach Yaakov morphs before our very eyes into Israel; a strong, muscled victor over all who try to trick and castrate his powers. He is IRON CLAD.
The iron stones we are reading about now echo important insights into what has happened what is happening and what will happen.
Avraham is inherent to morning- ” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled the donkey … and went to the place G-d had told him”
Yitzchak is intrinsic to the afternoon – ” And Yitzchak went to meditate in the fields before the evening fell”
Yaakov represents the night – ” You shall not be afraid Yaakov for the fear of night”. Yaakov’s ladder connects shamayim vaaretz (Heaven and earth)- He is both spiritual and wordly.
Yaakov sought refuge in the “White House” for some years. Craving independence and yearning to return HOME, Lavan ran after him reiterating that everything Yaakov has is from him. Accumulating massive wealth and a family of his own, Yaakov earned it all with hard labor and even blessed Lavan’s house a hundred fold. The archetype for the exodus- TIME TO GO- after being chased hurt and somewhat impaired- Yaakov marched to his destiny eventually crossing the Yabbok : resilient and victorious, Clark Kent into Superman. Israel as a nation crosses this same Yabbok after the long journey after slavery in Egypt and a chase to the finish. We have blessed every nation we have ever stayed with, in our temporary state of exile. Now we must return to our iron stones. CROSS THS YABBOK!
It is the month of Kislev now. The Macabbes were a class IRON JEWISH SOLDIER. The darkness we must obliterate. DO NOT FEAR THE NIGHT! We must cross this Yabbok and become truly Israel- WE must wade through to the other side now- independent of Lavan, Esav and Yishmael. An eternal people do not fear! The nation of Israel in her LAND LIVES!
Shabbat Shalom, Leah