Up or Down – Parshat Toldot
Up or Down
Do you miss playing on the seesaw? We all have memories of playing on the various elements in the park. The swings, monkey bars, slides and seesaws are staples at the local playground. A seesaw, when being used properly, has two people on it that alternate between going up and going down. When one party “pushes off” the ground they will go up, while the other will fall towards the ground.
In this week’s Torah portion, Rebecca is notified that she would have twins. She was told that two nations will emerge from you, and one nation will struggle against the other nation. We know that Rebecca did have twins named Jacob and Esau and they and their descendants struggled and continue to struggle with each other.
Rashi, one of the great commentators on the Torah, explains the struggle between the two nations and says that only one nation can be “up” at a time. It is impossible for both to be leading. The definition of struggle, according to Rashi, is that both nations will constantly be trading places struggling to be the ruler.
While this has certainly been true throughout the course of Jewish history, it also has relevance to each and every person. There are “two nations” within every person struggling for control of our heart, mind and our action. There is a Jacob and Esau within each of us trying to dictate our next move.
Remember, you are either up or down and our job is to try and make sure that Jacob rules.
Rabbi Mendy Hecht