Toldot begins the story of the rest of the story. The Lord is going to bring the Torah through the Jewish people to the rest of the world. God chooses the agent, the family proceeding from Abraham, through miracles of birth and protection.
Isaac digs in, literally re-digging the well of his father Abraham. Hard work. Getting established in the promised land. He is a worker walking following what his father established. He also copied some of his father’s weaknesses.
Esau and Jacob have sibling rivalry. The parents take favorites which makes matters worse. Rebekah hears from the Lord but does not seem to communicate this with Jacob. It is a mess of a dysfunctional family. The same weakness of deceit which worked for Abraham when he called his wife his sister, and continued with Isaac, becomes a terrible family problem with Esau and Jacob. It literally splits the family for many years.
Oh, the picture is a reminder that in the long term the Lord did deliver the Torah to the world through the Jewish people, as we can see at the wall in Israel today.
Here are some study notes:
Parsha Toldot 5771.doc
Parsha Toldot 5771.pdf