Studies in Torah

Parashat Toldot (תולדת): Genesis 25:19–28:9

At first glance, the trustworthiness troubles of Abraham, his son Yitzkhak (Isaac) and grandson Ya’akov (Jacob) can be disturbing, considering they are pillars of faith in the Kingdom of God. How can we forget Ya’akov’s “red, red stuff” deal for the birthright his brother, Esau?

Rather than a descent into “truthiness,” their legacy for the commonwealth of Israel is growth from faith-fickle to faithful. In this week’s Torah portion (תולדות Toldot, “generations,” Gen. 25:19–28:9), we follow Ya’akov’s journey to becoming a “new man,” renamed Israel (“struggles with God” or “rules with God”). That “rebirth,” pictured via Ya’akov’s dream of a ladder between Earth and Heaven, is why Yeshua (Jesus) likened that ladder to Himself (John 1:43–50).

The traditional complementary Prophets and Writings reading (haftarah) for Toldot is Mal. 1:1–2:7; 3:1–4. 1

Companion readings from the B’rit Chadashah (New Testament) from MessianicJudaism.net (also has through-the-Bible readings):

  • Rom. 9:6–16; Heb. 11:20; 12:14–17 (Complete Jewish Bible by David H. Stern)
  • Rom. 9:1–13 (Parashiot From the Torah and Haftarah by Jeffrey E. Feinbe of Flame Foundation)

The following are notes and recordings of studies by Hallel Fellowship teachers on passages on Toldot.  Also included are notes and the recording for Daniel’s discussion on a passage in the alternate haftarah for Machar Chodesh. 2

Genesis 25:19–28:9: ‘Be perfect, as your Father in Heaven is perfect’

 

Genesis 25:19–28:9: What does Heaven really want from me?

Genesis 25:19–28:9: Esau lives out why ‘following your heart’ can be folly

Genesis 25:19–34

Lying for lentils and how to inherit the blessings of God

After Sarah’s death Abraham had other children as well and we learn how his estate was divided up between his heirs. We also learn how Yiskhak (Isaac) deals with his status as a wealthy patriarch in a hostile land and how his two sons start fighting over Yiskhak’s estate before they are born and continue fighting over it when they are adults. The fight appears to end with Esau “despising” his birthright. But does this really end the dispute?

Death of Abraham, prophecy of Rivkah’s warring children and connections to Creation and the Flood

What is the connection between this account of the death of Abraham and the prophecy of warring children in the womb of Rivkah (Rebecca) and the accounts of Creation and of the Flood?

You want to be one of God’s firstfruits

Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) is called the firstfruits of the resurrection (1st Cor. 15:20), and why are we called firstfruits of creation (James 1:18)? Pentecost originally was a celebration of the firstfruits of the wheat harvest and followed 50 days after the celebration of the firstfruits of the barley harvest. What is God teaching here about Yeshua and us?

Chanukah celebrates dedicated women

What do the following six important women in the Bible have in common? How did these women feel about their experiences?

Yeshua the Firstfruits: First-born of those who are being saved

Humans and donkeys have something very important in common, according to the words of God: Both have to be redeemed by the blood of a lamb. The purpose of the memorial of Unleavened Bread is to remind us those who trust God have crossed over and what was before is destroyed and is gone. The past is destroyed just as the Egyptian army was drowned into the Sea. When we accepted Yeshua as our Savior, we chose Him as our first-born. We have made Him first in our hearts.

Genesis 26

Yitzkhak flees a famine, digs wells in Canaan

Yitzhkak (Isaac) seems to have repeated a number of events from Abraham’s life: a famine and claiming his wife was his sister. Yitzkhak also seems to have been obsessed with digging wells, but what should get our attention are messianic symbols of three days of live and death in the ground.

Genesis 27

Ya’akov tricks his father into getting the firstborn birthright Esau sold for a bowl of stew

The “transaction” for the firstborn birthright, which Esau sold to his brother, Ya’akov (Jacob) for a bowl of lentils in Genesis 25 is completed in Genesis 27 with a second ruse devised by their mother, Rivkah (Rebecca), to get Yitskhak (Isaac) to bless the correct son. This pattern of switching blessings at the last minute appears repeatedly in the Bible and has ramifications for the modern-day descendants of these two sons.

Ya’akov deceives Yitzkhak to receive prophesied blessing

Why has the birthright and blessing due Esau but passed to Ya’akov (Jacob) been a persistent factor in world history, even to our day and the future Day of the Lord? Is there a connection between the delusion Ya’akov gave his father, Yitzkhak (Isaac), to gain Esau’s blessing and the “strong delusion” God has planned for the Day of the Lord?

Genesis 28:1–9

Ya’akov finds God then Rachel

Ya’akov (Jacob) is sent away to find a wife and finds God first at the bottom of a ladder to Heaven. Then he finds Rachel and ends up with her sister and two slave women. There seems to be something prophetic about Rachel.

Ya’akov dreams of a ladder to Heaven, works for Rachel but gets Leah; Leah has sons but Rachel is barren

The vision of “Ya’akov’s ladder” and his being hoodwinked on his wedding night with Leah instead of Rachel make for entertaining reading, but why does the message of Yeshua the Messiah touch on these accounts? Genesis 28-29 also shows us how involved God is in this world throughout time.


  1. For years in which Shabbat for this week comes the day before Rosh Chodesh (New Moon) of Kislev (ninth month of God’s calendar), the haftarah is Machar Chodesh (“Tomorrow is the New Moon”), covering 1Sam. 20:18–24. For years when Rosh Chodesh is on Shabbat, the haftarah is Isa. 66:1–24. 
  2. 1st Samuel 20 study: “Yahunatan warns David to flee Sha’ul.” Yahunatan (Jonathan) during a New Moon celebration learns that his father, Sha’ul (Saul) the ruler, plans to kill his best friend, David. Yahunatan creates a signaling method involving three days and three arrows to let David know to flee. 

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