Yitzchak, aged 60, prayed for his wife Rivka to have a child. Rivka conceived twins and is told prophetically that the two children will father two separate nations. Esav is born first, red and hairy. Yaakov then emerged, holding on to Esav’s heel. Esav became a hunter, whereas Yaakov studied Torah. Yitzchak loved Esav more, whereas Rivka preferred Yaakov.

One day Yaakov prepared a red lentil stew. Esav returned exhausted from the fields, demanding that Yaakov give him some of the stew. Yaakov agreed in return for Esav selling the first-born rights to him. Esav agreed.

Famine hit the Land of Cana’an (Israel). God told Yitzchak not to go down to Egypt for food, assuring him that he will be a forefather of a great nation. Yitzchak lives amongst the Philistines in Gerar. Afraid to reveal Rivka as his wife, lest harm befall them from jealous men, Yitzchak told the locals that she was his sister. However, the ruler Avimelech discovered that they were married. He accused Yitzchak of deceiving him, but warned the people not to harm Yitzchak and Rivka. Yitzchak sowed the land and became very prosperous. The Philistines, jealous of Yitzchak’s prosperity, stopped up his wells. Yitzchak carried on digging wells; the arguments eventually end.

Yitzchak moved to Beersheva. God appeared to him in the night, telling him that He will bless him. Yitzchak built an altar. Avimelech brought an entourage from Gerar, offering Yitzchak a new peace treaty. Yitzchak agreed to the peace proposal.

Esav married two Hittite women. This pained his parents, as both women worshipped idols. The ageing Yitzchak, almost blind, asked Esav to go and hunt some game for him to eat, after which he will bless Esav. Rivka overheard and instructed Yaakov to go to Yitzchak disguised as Esav, with two cooked goats, so as to receive the blessings.

Rivka’s plan is successful; Yaakov received the blessings. Esav returned from the field, realised what has happened and let out a bitter cry. Yitzchak also gave Esav a blessing, but it included his future subservience to Yaakov.

Esav planned to kill Yaakov. Rivka told Yaakov to escape to her brother Lavan in Charan. Yitzchak instructed Yaakov to marry one of Lavan’s daughters. Before Yitzchak sends Yaakov away, he blessed him with the blessing first bestowed upon Avraham, including, specifically, the blessing of the Land of Israel. From this we can see that Yitzchak had always intended that the real legacy was to go to Yaakov, not Esav. Yaakov set off to Charan.

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