Why am I here? What is the difference between me and my dog? What separates humans from animals anyway? In this weeks parsha, toldot we can find the answer.
When looking at the story of Yaakov and Esau we find that Yaakov is a man of the tent. He spends his day learning Torah. On the other hand Esau is a man of the field. He spent his days hunting. Later in the parsha, Yitzchak (their then blinded father, when speaking to Yaakov) said “the voice of Yaakov but the hands of Esau.” Referring to the voice he heard as Yaacov, but the arm he felt as rough and hairy, which was seemingly the arm of Esau. Yitchak was noting something deeper than simply descriptions of his two sons.
What was it and what does this episode in our parsha have to do with the difference between animals and humans?
One difference between humans and animals is that we (humans) have the ability to think for ourselves, to learn, and to make educated decisions. Animals are in the fields, hunting and acting primarily on impulse. We see throughout this Torah portion Yaacov acting in calculated, meaningful ways, while Esau would rush to act on impulse.
So take that G-d-given gift of your voice and your intellect and use it to learn, think, act and better the World!
VP Religion and Culture