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Finding Your Truth in Parashat Toldot

Rebecca and Isaac pray for a child. Rebecca soon feels violent movement within her womb and cries to God.

Rabbi Dr. Reb Mimi Feigelson, Mashpiah Ruchanit (Spiritual Mentor) and senior lecturer of Rabbinics and Chassidic Thought at the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary, shares a powerful message based on Parasha Toldot. What is your truth and how does God help manifest it in the world?  What happens when your support system seemingly does not allow your vision to be fully actualized?

Full transcription below:


In the era of technology and the plethora of information that’s available to us, how do we know what’s for us? What are we meant to read? What are we not meant to read? Even if we read it, what is wisdom that is attainable for who we are in our existence and what are things that even though we have access to them, they’re really not the Torah, the wisdom that we need in our life.

There’s a teaching from Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, one of the earliest and greatest Hasidic masters and Rabbi that keeps me alive. That the first time I saw this teaching, I learned it. It was as if Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev, was sitting in a corner waiting for me. He says, on the pasuk that deals with the suffering that Rivka kind of experiences after she’s conceived Yaakov and Esav, we know this was a wanted pregnancy. Yizchak and Rivka prayed to God and when this pregnancy comes, she’s suffering and she knows that God has brought these children, so therefore she says לָמָּה זֶּה אָנֹכִי וַתֵּלֶךְ לִדְרֹשׁ אֶת יְהוָה.

She says,  וַיִּתְרֹצֲצוּ הַבָּנִים בְּקִרְבָּה “these children are inside of her.” They are battling, they are running around, they’re playing a soccer game. וַתֹּאמֶר אִם כֵּן לָמָּה , “why am I?” How could it be? I’m a holy woman. I’m a right and why am I suffering this way? And she וַתֵּלֶךְ לִדְרֹשׁ אֶת יְהוָה, “she knows to go to seek God.” How could it be? At times we have in our own life, we have a truth that we know is our truth. We have wisdom that we know is the way we’re meant to walk in the world and yet the world we live in doesn’t support the environment. It doesn’t sustain our truth. And what do we do and who do we seek. Go in and ask of God: I know you gave me this gift. How do I manifest this gift in the world if I don’t know who my support system is and what does that look like? So therefore, God is the one she turns to.

I want to ask you to have the courage to have the care, to identify the truth that you walk with in the world and when your world is not supporting it the way it needs to be supported to not doubt it. Because God’s answer is  שְׁנֵי גיים בְּבִטְנֵךְ “There are two nations inside of you.” We’re going to live with this tension. God is asking us though to not let go of the vision because the support seems to be not the kind of support we would like or not the kind of support that we believe is what we need in order to actualize that vision.

שְׁנֵי גיים בְּבִטְנֵךְ We’re carrying both of them inside of ourselves, and God is asking to not give up on one because of the response of the other.

Reb Mimi serves as the Mashpiah Ruchanit (spiritual mentor) of the Rabbinical School, and  teaches Talmud and Hassidic Thought. She will guide and walk with the rabbinical students on their personal-spiritual journeys. She served as the Mashpiah Ruchanit of the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in Los Angeles for the last 16 years. Prior to this Reb Mimi was one of the founding administration and faculty members of the “Yakar” Beit Midrash and community.

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