Toldot: Isaac’s Legacy

November 17, 2022

Our forefather Abraham introduced the concept of monotheism and hospitality. Jacob's legacy was the 12 tribes of Israel. But what was Isaac's legacy?

A. A Supernatural Birth

Ishmael’s birth was natural to his parents (Source 1), Abraham and Hagar, who were both young enough to give birth. Isaac’s birth was supernatural (Source 2), occurring when his parents, Abraham and Sarah, were both very old.

B. A Supernatural Circumcision

Ishmael’s circumcision took place at the age of 13 (Source 3), and Isaac’s at the age of eight days (Source 4). Circumcision is a medical procedure that involves danger (Source 5). The fact that Isaac was circumcised at the age of eight days is something that goes against nature, because at that age there is more risk than at the age of 13.

C. An Entire Supernatural Life

Isaac lived his entire life above nature. For example, not going down to Egypt even though there was a famine in the land of Canaan (Source 6), unlike his father Abraham and his son Jacob who went  to Egypt when there was a famine. Each of the patriarchs had a novel feature, and Isaac’s was his “above nature” conduct .

D. Divine Protection

Isaac prayed to G-d to heal his wife Rebecca of her barrenness and to bless them with children (Source 7). This begs the question: how did Isaac know that the problem was with Rebecca and not with him? Some suggested that this is because G-d promised Abraham “through Isaac that your seed will be reckoned,” and therefore it is certain that Isaac was able to have  children. This led him to the conclusion that the problem was with his wife.

But why didn’t Isaac  fear that sins may have diminished his merits? Jacob feared Esau, despite the Divine promise of protection he had. Isaac was not concerned because he was a “perfect sacrifice,” and he knew that G-d was protecting him from sin.

This is also reflected in the blessings that Isaac gave to Jacob. Since he was a ”perfect sacrifice,” G-d protected him so that he would make the right decision, and give the blessings to the right person.



Teaching aids

My account

Welcome Guest (Login)