Identity Crisis!

Back at the palace, King Avimelech heard the good news, “Your majesty, we are pleased to announce that we have with us a stunning foreigner, fit for the king.”
“Bring her to me immediately!” the king commanded.
When Avimelech saw Rivkah, he had no doubts. He wanted her as a wife. But he suspected that perhaps she was already married to her so-called “brother” Yitzchak. He’d already heard about that other king, Paraoh, who was punished with nasty plagues when he tried to marry Avraham’s wife, Sarah. For that reason Avimelech did not want to take any chances!
One day, Avimelech observed Rivkah and Yitzchak talking and laughing together; they seemed friendlier than just brother and sister. He now suspected that they were indeed husband and wife!
“Yitzchak!” shouted Avimelech. “You lied to me. Rivkah is your wife, not your sister!”
“I had to say that,” Yitzchak answered, “otherwise I might have been killed!”
“What?! I, King Avimelech, the most important person in the royal kingdom, was about to marry a married woman?!” shouted the king. “That would have been my end! You should’ve warned me!”
A royal proclamation was immediately issued, “Hear ye! Hear ye! Anyone who dares even touch Yitzchak or his wife – will be put to death immediately!”

Blessings x 100!

HaShem blessed Yitzchak in the land of the Plishtim. Yitzchak was very kind and gave one tenth of his proceeds to the poor. Hashem in turn rewarded him with over 100 times the normal produce!
Despite the year of drought and the fact that the soil was bad, everyone witnessed the incredible blessing Yitzchak received from HaShem. Actually, the Plishtim were quite jealous.

Who Gets the Blessing?

Many years passed. Yitzchak had grown old. His eyesight worsened over the years and he was now practically blind. Fearing that his life would soon end, Yitzchak called his beloved older son, Eisav, to his bedside. (Yitzchak did not know then that Eisav had sold his birthright privileges to his brother Yaakov.)
“Eisav, my son,” said Yitzchak. “I want to give you my blessing, since you are my firstborn son. But first, I want you to do a good deed – the Mitzvah of honoring your father. Go hunt an animal and prepare a delicious meal for me. Afterwards, I will give you a very special blessing.”
Eisav immediately headed out on his mission. Little did he know that his mother, Rivkah, had overheard Yitzchak’s instructions, and things were about to get rather complicated.

Rivkah’s Plan

Rivkah was determined to get Yaakov those important blessings, so she ran to tell him. “My dear son, Yaakov,” she exclaimed. “Your brother Eisav is about to get the special blessing from Father. Eisav doesn’t deserve the blessing, you do. After all, you are the B’chor.”
“But Mother, what can we do?” asked Yaakov.
“I have a plan,” she responded. “I’ve prepared some nice young goat meat for your father, just the way he likes it. Father can’t see very well, so he will think you are Eisav, and will therefore give you the blessing, which is rightfully yours!”
“But Mother, perhaps Father will touch me and realize that I’m not hairy like Eisav. That will just bring a curse upon me, not a blessing!”
“Do not worry, my son. The curse will be upon me.” Rivkah replied. “Now this is the plan. Let me dress with some of Eisav’s special clothes. Also, I’ll put some hairy goat skins on your hands and neck. Father will touch you and think you are Eisav.”
Rivkah gave Yaakov the delicious food she prepared and sent him off to his father.

Who’s Who?

Yaakov followed his mother’s instructions and entered his father’s room carrying the steaming plate of delicious meat.
“Father,” Yaakov said.
“Here I am. Who are you, my son?” Yitzchak asked.
Yaakov chose his words very carefully, so as not to tell a lie. “It is I,” replied Yaakov. After waiting a few seconds, he continued, “Eisav B’chorecha” – Eisav (is) your firstborn son. Father, I did what you asked. Now please get up and eat what I have brought you so that you may bless me.”
Yitzchak was very confused. It didn’t sound like Eisav’s usual growl.
“My dear son, how did you manage to hunt and cook a meal so fast?” asked Yitzchak.
“With HaShem’s help, I did it,” he answered.
“Hmmm…” thought Yitzchak. “This sounds more like a “Yaakov-answer” than an “Eisav-answer”.”
“Come here and let me touch you, my son,” Yitzchak requested. “This will be the test for me to know whether you are truly Eisav.”
Yaakov stepped up closer, and his father touched his goatskin-covered hands. Now Yitzchak was even more confused, “the voice is the voice of Yaakov, but the hands are the hands of Eisav!”
Once again, Yitzchak asked, “Are you my son Eisav?”
Yaakov answered simply, “I am” (without adding the word Eisav).
Yaakov served his father the meat and poured him wine.
“Please, my son. Come closer so I may kiss you,” said Yitzchak.
At that point, something incredible happened! As Yaakov bent over to kiss his father, Yitzchak smelled the wonderful Gan Eden fragrance coming from his garments. This was quite unusual for Eisav’s grimy hunting clothes.
Yitzchak blessed his son, “May HaShem bless you with the best of everything, plentiful rain and dew, abundant grain and wine. You will be a master over your brother, and the nations of the world will bow to you. Those who curse you will be cursed, and those who bless you will be blessed.”
All in all, a wonderful blessing for the future of Yaakov’s children – Bnei Yisrael – the Jewish people!

A Close Call

Just as Yitzchak finished the blessing, Yaakov heard Eisav’s heavy footsteps approaching! Quickly and quietly, Yaakov slipped out.
“Here I am!” Eisav bellowed to his father as he entered the room. “What a great piece of meat I’ve found for you! Time for my blessings!”
“Who are YOU?” he asked.
“It is me. Your oldest son Eisav!”
Now Yitzchak was really confused. “What is going on here? Who is this? Eisav? It sure sounds like him. But…if this is Eisav…then…who was here just a moment before?”

Too Late, Eisav

A great fear overcame Yitzchak. He trembled. “Someone else had just brought me some meat, and I already gave him my blessing. Yes… Blessed he will be,” said Yitzchak.
Eisav screamed a bitter great cry. He begged, “Please bless me too, Father!”
“I can’t. Your brother already got the blessing,” Yitzchak responded.
“That sneaky Yaakov!” cried Eisav. “First he took my birthright, and now my blessing! It’s not fair! I demand a blessing! Surely you have the power to give more than just one blessing.”
“Eisav, what blessing can I give you?” replied his father. “I made your brother Yaakov master over you, and therefore any blessing I give you, rightfully belongs to him.”
Still Yitzchak took pity on Eisav and blessed him, “By the fat of the land you will live. You will be a great fighter, a master of the sword, yet you will not be more powerful than your brother, unless he stops learning Torah and doing Mitzvos.”
“Some blessing!” thought Eisav. “Boy, I really hate my brother Yaakov! Thanks to him, I ended up with a second-rate blessing! Soon my father will die and then I’ll finish off that trickster. I’ll kill him, once and for all!”

Time to Leave

Rivkah had a special gift, called Ruach HaKodesh. With that Holy Spirit, she knew exactly what Eisav was plotting, so without hesitation she took action. With a sense of urgency she called Yaakov, “My dear son, there’s no time to waste. Eisav is planning to kill you. You must run away. Go to my family in Charan.”
She hoped that a little cooling-off time would calm Eisav down.
Not wanting to reveal to Yitzchak the real reason why she wanted Yaakov to escape, Rivkah told her husband, “I absolutely forbid Yaakov to marry the kind of girls from around here.”
Yitzchak immediately called Yaakov, “I command you not to marry a girl from here in Cana’an. Travel to your mother’s family in Charan and find yourself a wife from the daughters of Lavan. May HaShem shower upon you many blessings. You shall be fruitful and become a great nation!”
Yaakov now had the blessings from both his parents and off he went to Charan!

Tune in Next Time

What lies in store for Yitzchak? Will Eisav harm his twin brother? What will become of the Jewish nation?

Parsha at a Glance

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