One pasuk, verse, always moves me.  It occurs in this week in Parshat Toldot, Bereishit 27:33, וַיֶּחֱרַד יִצְחָק חֲרָדָה גְּדֹלָה עַד־מְאֹד, VaYecherad Yitzchak Charadah Gadolah Ad M’od, And Yitzchak trembled a very great tremble.

Until that moment, all of Yitzchak’s adult life had been based on the wrong premise, that Esav, his physically-oriented but spiritually-bereft son was The Chosen, the son who would go on to found the Jewish people.  When events overtake him he realizes that he must now totally and immediately shift his worldview, give his full backing to Yaakov instead as the future Yisrael, the one whose children will bear the responsibility and privilege of attesting to the One God, שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֵינוּ יְהוָֹה ׀ אֶחָד, Sh’ma Yisrael, Adonay Eloheinu Adonay Echad.  Like his father before him, He shows the courage to overcome even himself.

He takes no time reconcile his feelings, no time to mourn his old paradigm.  Perhaps the nation that will flow from him will not have the greatest blessings of the material and will have to rely, instead, on our spiritual gifts. Yitzchak’s courage to see the world for what it is, not what he thought it was or wanted it to be, and to then move on, “get with the program”, remains one of my greatest inspirations.

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2 Responses to Courage

  1. Jonathan Fine says:

    Many thanks. The saying of אלהי אברהם אלהי יצחק ואלהי יעקב a number of times a day and dozens of times a week hits me as being in a similar way. Avraham finds God, Yitzchah has the problems you mention and Yaakov is the one whose children (with all their faults) pass on the tradition in a serious way. We also recognise that same God and we are all in the positions of Abraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov. We have to take the role of each one of them, through discovery, choosing the spiritual route that is right for us, that we have any chance of moving along, and that fits the situation we find ourselves in, and lastly, transmitting the tradition so that it continues. To be constantly reminded of those obligations can feel a bit overwhelming but helps sets some goals.

  2. Pingback: An Invitation | Rabbi Zeitlin

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