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Parashat Toldot

November 20, 2020
4 Kislev 5781
Parashat Toldot
Genesis 25:19 - 28:9

Dear Friends,

As Thanksgiving approaches, my thoughts turn to food. How appropriate then that this week’s Torah portion, Toldot, has one of the most famous food scenes in the Torah.

The twins Jacob and Esau are described as having very different personalities, one staying close to home and the other a hunter. Esau returns home after an unsuccessful day of hunting only to find his twin cooking up a huge pot of red lentils. Esau says “give me some of that, I am so hungry I could die.” Instead of giving his brother food, Jacob turns the moment into a negotiation about food and legacy.

On Passover we say “Let all who are hungry come eat." Jacob is not a good exemplar in this situation.  Food is not something to barter; food is a necessity, whether it is given or earned. We can look at these two brothers through a number of different lenses, but at this moment in time, we should use this story to frame the urgent need for food right now.

How do we do that? This year, inviting others to share a meal with us is not possible. Cooking with others at a food pantry is not the safest place to be, so what do we do? How can we feed those around us who need a warm meal, not just on Thanksgiving but on a regular basis?

Here in our own community we have a number of opportunities to be grateful for what we have and to assist others who are not as fortunate. See the Mitzvah of the Week below for ways to donate.

One more thought about Thanksgiving -- I invite each of you to make a list of all of the many things that you are grateful for. I would like to acknowledge that I am exceedingly grateful for this community.

Shabbat Shalom,

Rabbi Linda Shriner-Cahn


Tue, April 13 2021 1 Iyyar 5781