Toldot: Chapter 7
"And the children struggled together within her" (B)

The story of Esau and Jacob is illuminated using an analogy with man's body and internal organs. The "children struggling together within her" refers to the brain and heart. Their struggle for primacy between these two is metaphorically expressed in Esau's selling his birthright to Jacob in exchange for porridge, which signifies the world. We also learn that the heart and liver are the most important organs. Next, the Rabbis more deeply explore the nature of life after the Resurrection, identifying the elements of our prior existence that will still be present after the Final Redemption.


Man is inclined to sacrifice long-term fulfillment and well-being for immediate ego gratification. This is the true significance of Esau selling his birthright to his brother. We settle for bowls of porridge every day, blinded by the moment, caring only for our self-interest at the expense of our loved ones. Moreover, we delude ourselves with the belief that our selfish actions are really for the sake of our families. This delusion is fabricated by the dark side of our nature. This passage removes the veils of illusion, giving us the strength and foresight not to sell our souls when temptation for self-indulgence arises.