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And he said, is he not rightly named Yaakov, for he has supplanted me these two times. (27:36)

The various commentators seem to have one theme in their understanding of hbceghu. Targum Onkelos interprets it as “he has outsmarted me.” Ibn Ezra relates this term to ceg, as in ckv ceg (crooked heart), thereby meaning “to take a crooked and cunning route.” Rashi explains it as “setting a trap.” They all seem to be consistent in explaining ceg as including the idea of devious undertaking with malice aforethought to reach one’s goal.  Indeed, this analysis is confirmed by the fact that Yaakov was compelled to “trick” his brother on two occasions. As Rabbi E. Munk z.t.l. notes, this…

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And they (Esov’s wives) were a source of bitterness of spirit to Yitzchak and Rivkah. (26:35)

Esov married Canaanite girls, the very women who Avraham had admonished Eliezer not to take for Yitzchak. The reality that these women were idol worshippers was a source of anguish to Yitzchak and Rivkah. In stating this fact, the Torah mentions Yitzchak’s name before Rivkah’s. The Midrash gives an insightful explanation for this. Yitzchak, having been reared in an environment of holiness and purity, was more intensely provoked by idol worship than Rivkah. Although Rivkah was a devout believer in Hashem, the abomination of idol worship seemed to lose its odium because of her prior exposure to it. Her tolerance…

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Two nations are in your womb, and two people shall be separated from your bowels. (25:23)

Rashi states, “Already from the very bowels of Rivkah, they are separated, one to his wickedness and the other to his righteousness.” Rabbi Moshe Swift z.t.l. makes a poignant observation. The child is molded in the mother’s womb. In the home, the child is reared. The Jewish ideology which a child receives from within his home makes a major impact upon his perspective of life. Even the influence of an extremely adverse external influence is limited if the individual has been properly molded “from the womb.” We often hear parents place the blame for their own incompetence and lack of…

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And the children struggled together within her. And she said if (it be) so why am I like this . And Hashem said to her two nations are in your womb. (25:22,23)

Rivkah, struggling through unusual pains of pregnancy, became so distraught that she went to seek guidance at the Bais Ha’Midrash of Shem and Ever. She was told that she was carrying twins who were disparate in belief and temperament. They would eventually go their own separate ways, one to do good and the other inclined to the path of evil. This seems puzzling. How was Rivkah comforted by the knowledge that two nations existed within her womb?  Did the news of the imminent birth of an evil son make her pregnancy any easier? Indeed, the grim news that awaited Rivkah,…

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