Chodesh Kislev: A message from Rav Avishai Alge
In Parshas Toldos, we see something interesting in the psukim. The Torah states that Avraham is the father of Yitzhak.... uh ya, we already know that. What's going on here? Why does the Torah state a known fact?
When all of Yitzhak's "Toldos", meaning Yaakov and Esav, are mentioned, Yitzhak is already 60 years old. Why are we being reminded of his lineage now?
Rav Shimon Schwab offers a beautiful insight into the reality of our world.
When Yitzhak was born, no one doubted that he came from Avraham, because Yitzhak was a tzadik in his own right. But when Esav was born, questions arose. “How could a rasha such as Esav come from a tzadik like Yitzhak, and even more so, a gadol like Avraham Avinu?” Speculation circulated: “Maybe Avraham isn’t the biological father of Yitzhak! Maybe Yitzhak was conceived during the time that Sarah was in the home of Avimelech!” To disprove this mistaken notion, the Torah reiterates the lineage of our avos.
I believe there is a deeper idea in Rav Schwab’s comment. He is perhaps suggesting that yes, it is possible for a person to be born inherently evil. So much so, that even Rashi makes a note of this concept early in Parshas Toldos. Esav was a well-known Rasha, and therefore, we might assume that he really came from the seed of Avimelech. One might believe that the only explanation for Esav’s wicked nature is that he inherited evil DNA from Avimelech – which is why Esav was evil from birth.
We must recognize the weight of our actions. Our inherent chashivus comes with big responsibility, not only for ourselves but also for our future generations. When we make a mistake or perhaps miss a mitzvah opportunity, it affects our character and also the reality of those close to us.