Min Hazaqen Torah Commentary, by Ovadyah ben Yisrael

Lek-L’ka
Shalom Chaverym;

This Sabbath’s video Torah study at 4pm Central Time with the staff and friends of Sabbath Keepers Fellowship.
Here is the Zoom Link:https://zoom.us/j/4731209848

This week’s parasha is:

Tol’doth – תּוֹלְדֹת  – “generations”
Torah reading: B’reishyth (Genesis) 25:19 – 28:9
Haftarah reading:  Malachi 1:1 – 2:7
Ketuvym Hatalmidym reading: Romiyim 9:6-16

Shalom aleykhem, achym, b’shem YHWH Echad ~ Peace to you, my brothers, in the name of YHWH, who is One.

Vayivez Esav et hab’korah ~ “And Esav despised the birthright.”
A birthright, in ancient times, was of great value. It had, as with most scriptural things, a dual aspect—both a physical and a spiritual one. Each of these is, arguably, of equal importance.

The foremost physical aspect of a birthright is that it entitles its bearer to first choice and a double portion of all family inheritances. This would include, but not be limited to, family land, livestock, monetary wealth, slaves and other persons, as well as other resources and assets. As attested in scripture, Avraham and Yitzchak possessed great wealth, so the physical portion of Esav’s birthright was immense.

The foremost spiritual aspect of a birthright was that its bearer, in effect, acted as the family priest. He was responsible for setting and maintaining family doctrine and practice in religious matters. Since life revolved around these things in ancient times, the birthright bearer was also the de facto leader of a clan or tribe. In addition, his own firstborn would eventually be the possessor of the birthright. The spiritual portion of Esav’s birthright, with all of the promises made by YHWH to his fathers, was even more immense than the physical one.

Our pesuk says Esav “despised” his birthright. Oxford’s dictionary defines the word despise as: to look down on as inferior, as worthless, or contemptible. The Hebrew root word is “bazah”—to disdain, contemn or scorn. So, Esav held his birthright in the very lowest regard.

The Hebrew word for birthright is “b’kora.” However, in our pesuk it is “Hab’korah”—not just any birthright, but THE birthright which would encompass all of the the inheritances and the blessings from the Creator of the universe to Avraham, and then down through all of his descendants even to us, through Yehoshua Hamashiach. This most singular birthright is of incalculable worth. In fact, it is worth EVERYTHING. And Esav sold it for a bowl of red soup.

But, before you despise, disdain, contemn and scorn Esav for what he did, please examine yourself, my brothers. Each time you sin, you despise the blessings of YHWH which are upon you and the inheritance you obtained with the blood of His blessed son. What is your price? A piece of pork? A bit of gossip? A little work on Shabbat? Some people are quick to point out that Ya’akov bribed Esav for the birthright and even stole the blessing, and they are correct. He did not act ethically in the way that he obtained them. He was still the cunning Ya’akov, and not yet the righteous Yisrael that he would eventually become. But one thing his accusers cannot fault Ya’akov for is despising or undervaluing the gifts of YHWH that he obtained. In fact, he fully understood their value. He was willing to do whatever it took to obtain and keep them. Are you? May you come to know and love YHWH, even as He knows and loves you.

B’Shalom, Ovadyah Ben Yisrael

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