Parashat Toledot (Generations)
29th of Cheshvan, 5778 / November 18th, 2017
By David Barker
This Week’s Readings:
Haftarah: 1 Samuel 20:18-42
Brit Chadashah: 1 Corinthians 15:42-55
A person’s outlook on life is largely determined by their worldview. With today’s drash we begin with a worldly perspective, examine the Scriptures and then learn what we can from a heavenly perspective. English novelist Rose Tremain said, “Life is not a dress rehearsal.” A dress rehearsal being the final rehearsal before the actual show. For Ms. Tremain, it was a great reminder that in the grander scheme of things, there are no second chances and we only get one shot at it. We have a limited period of time on this planet and we are not practicing for something else. The lights are on, the curtain is up, and the audience has bought their tickets. This is the real deal.
In the Torah Portion, we see the birth of twins, Esau and Jacob who struggled against each other even as they were in the womb. When it came time for the birth, Esau was the one who emerged first, followed by his brother Jacob. As the first-born, Esau had a privileged birthright ensuring him a double portion. Unfortunately, in his short sightedness and need for instant gratification, he sold his birthright to Jacob as the Scripture says, “Esau despised his birthright”. Later Esau was so bitter over the blessing that Isaac gave Jacob that Esau in his heart wanted to kill his brother Jacob. Notice that it was not the first but the second that was blessed.
The Haftarah Portion is a special portion known as the Machar Chodesh, which is on the Shabbat prior to a new month, as it says, “Then Jonathan said to him, “Tomorrow is the New Moon. You’ll be missed because your seat will be empty” Here again we find a unique situation, Saul the first King of Israel, despised David and wanted to kill him as the Scripture says, “Jonathan knew that his father was determined to put David to death”. We see a similar pattern emerge that while Saul was indeed the first King of Israel, yet it was certainly David the second King of Israel who was blessed.
In the Brit Chadashah Portion we see the affirmation of the first verses second principal. The portion states that through Adam sin entered the world and all men die, yet through Yeshua our Messiah that sin is removed, and men are made alive. The Scripture says it this way, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul. The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.” Paul demonstrates this so succinctly: first corruption – then comes incorruption; first dishonor – then glory; first weakness – then power; first the natural then the spiritual. The first man is from earth the second man is from heaven.
The Scriptural viewpoint is clearly at odds with that of the worldly perspective. According to the Scriptures, life here on earth is only the first part of something much greater. What we are experiencing is only the first, it is the natural saturated with corruption and weakness. The promises of what is to come is so superior, so wonderful it is difficult to imagine why anyone would want this world to be all there is. Here is the good news. Our G-d is the G-d of second chances, if we truly believe that Yeshua is the Messiah, who died for your sins, was buried and raised on the third day then one day in the future, the curtain will rise, and center stage will be Yeshua and we the audience will behold his Glory and realize that He did it all and indeed - this life is only but a dress rehearsal.