Click toldot 2017 to download PDF


Parashat Toldot

Everyone who walks theארץ , the land, has a רצון, a will. Ask anyone you meet what would be the greatest thing that he could achieve over the next 5 years. You will always get some sort of answer, of some sort of dream, hope, or aspiration.  When someone has a clear, laser-beam Ratzon, then he is רץ, he runs! Because he is living the “Charged” Life, a life full of energy, motivation, alacrity, excitement, etc.

But there are two types of “C” lifes that all the rest of the people in the world fall under. There is the Caged Life. The life where people are manipulated by fear, or are “stuck”. I wish I could achieve x, but this person, or that circumstance, or some other manipulation or excuse, is stopping me from reaching my dreams.

The third life is the Comfortable life, where people give up their dreams, their hopes, their destiny, because they prefer the comfortable lifestyle they are in. Their comfort zone is too precious. They talk the talk – they talk about what is important, they talk about what would be amazing in life. But they don’t walk the walk – they don’t want to pay the price for the lifestyle they wish for, they don’t want to get out of their comfort zones, they don’t want to take responsibility. The lifestyle they live is diametrically opposed to the life of their dreams.  They are not willing to get uncomfortable for the sake of their ambitions.

Baruch Hashem, we live in a time where there are so many yeshivot, seminaries, Shuls, organizations, etc. Ken Yirbu. Unfortunately, though, so many people in our Frum system have some sort of spiritual aspiration, but very little motivation. Low battery. This is because they are living either the Caged life, or the Comfortable life. They don’t want to pay the price of being more spiritual. Of taking that responsibility of bringing G-d into their everyday lives, as much as possible.

Esav sold his rights as a firstborn to Yaakov for nothing more than a bowl of lentils. The word the Torah uses is ויבז עשו את הבכורה And Esav scorned the rights to the firstborn. R Wolbe asks, How can a person either buy or sell the rights of a firstborn? Isn’t that something spiritual? R Wolbe explains how Esav sold his spirituality, his firstborn rights. Spirituality can be sold, according to how much you don’t value it. And on the flip side, spirituality can be “bought” according to how much you are willing to give up for it. Spirituality is something that is not tangible, so its price, whatever you are willing to invest in it or risk for it, is its value. This explains how the deal of the firstborn sale went through…Don’t we have a rule of הונאה יותר משתות that something cannot be sold for a price that is much greater, or much lower, than its real value? How, then, could the sale of the firstborn rights go through for such a low price? The answer is that spirituality is worth whatever you are willing to barter for it. For a hungry Esav, the bowl of lentils had the same worth as the firstborn birthrights, which were of inestimable value to Ya’akov.

This can also explain why it is considered that Esav “scorned” his firstborn rights, by selling them. Didn’t Rashi mention earlier that Esav was afraid to keep his firstborn rights, because of the responsibilities they entailed? Esav was afraid that if he would retain those firstborn rights, he would have the status, legally, of a Kohen. That was the law in his times. Being a Kohen meant being the one to serve G-d, bring sacrifices, be G-d’s representative to the people of the world, and representative of the people to G-d. Esav was ready to give up the privileges that come along with the responsibility, not because he belittled being the Firstborn, but because he was afraid of the punishments he would receive for not keeping the strict laws that only the Kohen needs to keep! If he wanted to be absolved of them because of fear of the responsibilities, because he did not want to take any chances, why does the Torah call that “scorning”?

The answer is that to acquire a level of greatness, you need to “pay” – to accept the responsibilities that go along with it. That is its “uncomfortable” price tag. If you do not want to pay the price, it means that you do not want that level of greatness. It means you are not ready to sacrifice, to make your effort to reach that level. It means that you do not really value, what you are not willing to take responsibility for.

This is such a simple, black and white, belief. If you don’t want to practice shooting baskets in the dark, you don’t want to play basketball like Michael Jordan. If you don’t want to learn something again, and again, and again, then you do not want the memory of R’ Ovadia Yosef. If you don’t want to take the chance of losing a game, you are not ready to win. If you are not willing to get “no”s, you are not ready to make a sale. If you are not ready to learn mussar and look your mistakes in the face, you are not ready to become the great person you can become. It means that these goals are not important enough to you. If your holiness is important, you are willing to give up more internet access, a cooler phone, a better deal, and a more exotic vacation. But, if to save a couple of dollars, you go to places where you see unholy sites, that means that all your holiness is worth to you is a couple of dollars.

What value in life that you live by, will cause you to live a fully charged life? Are you living a charged life, a caged life, or a comfortable life? What comfortable habits or lifestyles are causing you to stay away from that awesome life you truly deserve? How much are you willing to pay, what are you willing to give up in order for you to achieve the life of your dreams?

The more we ask ourselves these questions, the more passionate, real, and charged, our lives will be.


About the author, Yosef

Leave a Comment