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  • Tamir Cohen

Parshat Toldot

This week’s parsha, Parshat Toldot, opens up with a rather repetitive statement. As the passuk says, “This is the story of Yitzchak the son of Avraham. Avraham fathered Yitzchak.” Why does the pasuk restate the same idea twice? If Yitzchak was the son of Avraham, then isn’t it pretty obvious that Avraham fathered Yitzchak?

Rashi explains that the cynics of that generation were saying that Sarah had become pregnant from Avimelech, since she had failed to conceive in all the years she was with Avraham. So, what did G-d do? He formed Yitzchak’s physical appearance to resemble that of Avraham so that all could attest that Avraham had truly fathered Yitzchak. That being said, this is the true meaning of the repetitious wording of the verse: “Yitzchak (is certainly) the son of Avraham, (since there is proof that) Avraham fathered Yitzchak.”

While Rashi's explanation is all good and well, if we take an even deeper look into the wording of the passuk there is a valuable lesson that we can take from it. The Midrash Tanchuma interprets the verse beautifully. He explains that there are many children who are embarrassed of their parents, and there are many parents who are embarrassed by their children. However, it wasn't like that with Avraham and Yitzchak. On The contrary, Yitzchak prided himself in that he was “Yitzchak the son of Avraham,” and Avraham prided himself in that he “fathered Yitzchak.”

In this day and age, it’s very common for people to try to fit in with those around them. Whether it’s a Sephardi trying to fit in as an Ashkenzi, or vice versa, people often tend to feel embarrassed about where they come from. As a result, they try to blend in with their surroundings. The unique wording of the passuk teaches us that one should never try to hide where they come from or deny their heritage; rather, they should embrace their roots and wear them as a badge of honor, just as Yitzchak did.

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