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.