Isaac and Rebecca suffer twenty years without having children, until their prayers are answered and Rebecca conceives. She experiences a very difficult pregnancy as the "children struggle inside her"; G‑d tells Rebbecca that "there are two nations in your womb," and that the elder (Esau) will serve the younger (Jabob).
Esau emerges first; Jacob is born clutching Esau’s heel. Esau grows up to be "a cunning hunter, a man of the field"; Jacob on the contrary become "a wholesome man," a dweller in the tents of learning. Isaac favors Esau, but Rebecca loves Jacob. Returning exhausted and hungry from the hunt one day, Esau sells his birthright (his rights as the firstborn) to Jacob for a pot of red lentil stew.
In Gerar, in the land of the Philistines, Isaac presents Rebecca as his sister, out of fear that he will be killed by someone coveting her beauty . He farms the land, reopens the wells dug by his father Abraham, and digs a series of his own wells: over the first two there is strife with the Philistines, but the waters of the third well are enjoyed in tranquility.
Esau marries two Hittite women. Isaac grows old and looses his vision, and expresses his desire to bless Esau before he dies. While Esau goes off to hunt for his father’s favorite food per Isaac request, Rebecca dresses Jacob in Esau's clothes, covers his arms and neck with goatskins to simulate the feel of his hairier brother Esau, prepares a similar dish, and sends Jacob to his father to get a blessing instead of Esau. Jacob receives his father's blessings for "the dew of the heaven and the fat of the land" and mastery over his brother. When Esau returns and the deception is discovered, all Isaac can do for his upset son is to predict that he (Esau) will live by his sword, and that when Jacob falters, the younger brother will forfeit his supremacy over the elder.
Jacob leaves home for Charan to flee Esau’s wrath and to find a wife in the family of his mother’s brother, Laban. Esau marries a third wife—Machalath, the daughter of Ishmael.
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Parsha Toldot by Rabbi Simon Jacobson שליט׳א (8 min)