Toldot – Divergent Children

Perfect families are hard to come by.  Inevitably we find instances where children go astray and others in the same family toe the line.  So it was with Yitzhak’s family – he had a Yaakov but he also had an Eisav. Did he go wrong with Eisav?

  • We sometimes find in life that perfectly capable and good parents produce two divergent children – one toeing the line of positive values and behaviour, and the other rebelling against the norms of society.
  • Our Parsha this week, Toldot, describes one such circumstance.  The sage and Tzaddik Yitzhak, has two children, Yaakov, and Eisav. One is destined for greatness and to become the progenitor of the Jewish nation, and the other an anti-social anarchist bent on destruction and inflicting pain on others.
  • We could say that the children were destined to be different But, this is an impossible notion as we know full well that G-d does not create predestined evil people. Free choice lies at the core of life’s meaning. However, we do have predispositions and predilections, carry-overs from past lives, that might need refining and remedying
  • If a person possesses inclinations that can lead him or her astray, that also means that the he/she has been provided with the extra capacity to overcome these inclinations.  Such a person therefore has an even higher potential.
  • Eisav had a higher potential even than his brother Jacob, and that is why his father Yitzhak seemed to favour him especially when in his old age he is about to give the sons their blessings. But Eisav doesn’t exercise his free choice wisely and turns out the way he did.
  • We all need to look at our shortcomings and realize we have the capacity to grow – likewise with our children.  But we need to work hard to ensure that the potential is realized – especially with our children.
  • Now, is a good time to introspect and identify where we need to do a bit of spiritual work.