Toldot: Chapter 11
"And there was a famine in the land..."

The Rabbis discuss the Creator's testing of the righteous, and His treatment of the wicked. There is a delay in executing judgment against the wicked in order to give them time to repent. the Creatorthe Creator, we're told, tests the righteous in order to help them lift up their heads. The discussion shows how this applies to Adam, Abraham, Noah, and Isaac; then Rabbi Shimon expounds on the need for an understanding of the relationship between soul, body, and the Shechinah. We learn that it is only when the soul is reunited with the Shechinah that is truly worthy.


A child learns to walk by falling down and standing up again. Measured against a lifetime of walking, this period of continual stumbling is relatively short. Similarly, the hardships and afflictions in our lives are learning opportunities. They are sent to us to help us learn to walk in the ways of the Creator. When we understand our afflictions in this way, their duration is brief compared to a lifetime of spiritual fulfillment. Conversely, when life appears strangely calm and placid, the Creator may be delaying judgments against us for self-centered behavior. We should be wary of our connection to the Light during these moments and begin to reflect with humility and repentance.