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  • Farrah Mashihi

Parshat Toldot: Reach For The Heel

HaShem grants us infinite potential, and we are capable of reaching unimaginable heights if we put in the work. HaShem orchestrates our lives as a challenge, and we have the opportunity to break through our comfort zones and rise to the next level. Our obstacles may be difficult, and oftentimes, they may seem impossible to overcome, but if we are committed to achieving our goals, we will reach them and receive rewards that are worth all of the energy. Through our challenges, we must ask ourselves how badly we want to reach our goals, and what lengths we are willing to go to in order to get there. In life, everything we have is because HaShem allows us to have it. As such, we are responsible to appreciate the blessings we do have, which we often take for granted. On top of that, it's our obligation to strive for greatness and to appreciate our potential to be great.

In Parshat Toldot, HaShem grants Yitzhak Avinu and Rivkah Imeinu twin sons, Yaakov and Esav. As the passuk says, “there were twins in her womb. And the first one emerged ruddy; he was completely like a coat of hair, and they named him Esav. And afterward, his brother emerged, and his hand was grasping Esav’s heel, and he named him Jacob” (Bereishit 25: 24-26).

While these names may not particularly stand out, Rabbi Ariel Mizrahi provides some insight into their depth. The name Esav is rooted in the word “asuy,” meaning complete. HaShem created Esav as a complete man- hairy, well-built, and whole. On the other hand, the name Yaakov is derived from “ekev”, meaning heel. Yaakov was born grabbing onto Esav’s heel, symbolizing the fact that he was incomplete and reaching for more. Yaakov exemplifies our reality, that we are human and are not created as perfect beings. However, we have a responsibility to put in our effort, or hishtadlut, into our lives, to take advantage of our resources and our blessings, in order to overcome our obstacles. Conversely, Esav represents someone who is lazy and believes they don't need to grow or change, that they are already perfect, and that they are a victim of their obstacles with no way of beating them. In the end, as we all know, Yaakov becomes our Patriarch, and Esav does not.

Here, the Torah teaches us a very valuable life lesson: that we live to grow in our accomplishments, and by understanding that we are incomplete, we can eventually do so. When we are under the impression that we are perfect and incapable of growth, we reject the opportunities and blessings that HaShem gives us. That being said, it is precisely during challenging times that we must grasp onto the heel ahead of us in order to reach the next level in life, and with Hashem's help, we can excel.

Shabbat Shalom U’Mevorach!

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