Hardy green
Life, in a nutshell

This week's portion: birth and brotherhood

In this week's portion, parashat Toledot, we read first that Rivka had difficulty getting pregnant. And once the pregnancy arrived, it wasn't easy, either. That was the start point for my d'var this week at Radical Torah:

Rikva does conceive — but she feels the dangerous struggle in her womb, and she says, “If so, why do I exist?”

The story continues from there in the way we have all come to recognize: the promise that her younger son will rule over the elder, the birth of hairy Esau and grasping Jacob, the twin birthright stories, the trickery.

But as a reader I’m reluctant to move on, caught by the moment of Rivka’s anguished cry. I imagine her tossing and turning on a bed of blankets, trying to find comfort despite the palpable struggle of the child (she does not yet know there are two) in her womb. Perhaps she fears miscarriage, or that her baby will tangle itself in the umbilical cord as it thrashes inside her.

And so she cries out. If this is happening -- and it is happening; the struggle inside her feels like it may kill her -- then why does she exist? Why has her life led her to this moment?

Read the whole thing here: Rivka's question, our answers.

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