a gay black woman's discovery of her jewish self

Jewish Geography Project:Toldot

Posted on: November 2, 2013

This week’s parasha is Toldot-when Esau sells his birthright to his brother, Jacob.

Isaac and his family have still remained for quite some time in the land.

Chapter 26
1 There was a famine in the land-aside from the previous famine that had occurred in the days of Abraham-and Isaac went to Abimelech, king of the Philistines, in Gerar. 2 The Lord had appeared to him and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; stay in the land which I point out to you. 3 Reside in this land, and I will be with you and bless you; I will assign all these lands to you and to your heirs, fulfilling the oath that I swore to your father Abraham. 4 I will make your heirs as numerous as the stars of heaven, and assign to your heirs all these lands, so that all the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by your heirs- 5 inasmuch as Abraham obeyed Me and kept My charge: My commandments, My laws, and My teachings.”

6 So Isaac stayed in Gerarbefore going to Beersheba…23 From there he went up to Beer-sheba.

But they’re both in Israel so not much moving around. What I do find interesting is that Isaac sends for a daughter for his son Jacob, just as Abraham had sent for Rebekah, “from among the daughters of Laban, your mother’s brother.” While they are living among the Canaanites, they do not take wives with them. So he sends his servant back to Paddan Aram, modern-day Turkey, to find a suitable wife.

Who Were the Hittites?What I find interesting is at the end of the parasha Esau also finds a wife. Chapter 28 says, “6 When Esau saw that Isaac had blessed Jacob and sent him off to Paddan-aram to take a wife from there, charging him, as he blessed him, “You shall not take a wife from among the Canaanite women,” 7 and that Jacob had obeyed his father and mother and gone to Paddan-aram, 8 Esau realized that the Canaanite women displeased his father Isaac. 9 So Esau went to Ishmael and took to wife, in addition to the wives he had, Mahalath the daughter of Ishmael son of Abraham, sister of Nebaioth.”

Based on this Esau already haves wives, presumably Canaanite wives that displease his parents, Chapter 26, “34 When Esau was forty years old, he took to wife Judith daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath daughter of Elon the Hittite; 35 and they were a source of bitterness to Isaac and Rebekah.” Yet, it would seem that the Hittite people are from the same, approximate, region of Turkey that Isaac and Rebekah are seeking a daughter for their younger son.

So is this bitterness more a cultural or religious bitterness?

It seems unlikely that Esau would marry someone from another religion.

Thoughts on this, cause I’ve always been confused by the “bitterness” piece.

Shabbat Shalom, ya’ll!

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