Parashat Toldot / Ostensibly, a birthright is passed on to one’s firstborn son. However, in the story of Jacob and Esau, this natural privilege is turned into a material or commercial commodity.
When Esau discovers that the blessing intended for him was stolen by his brother, he exclaims, “Is not he rightly named Jacob? for he hath supplanted me these two times: he took away my birthright; and, behold, now he hath taken away my blessing” (Genesis 27:36). Esau is referring to his brother Jacob’s name in Hebrew, Ya’akov, which derives from the verb la’akov (to follow, to tail someone) and experiences...
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