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By Rabbi Aron Tendler | Series: | Level:

Note: The Shabbos Torah Reading is divided into 7 sections. Each section is called an Aliya [literally: Go up] since for each Aliya, one person “goes up” to make a bracha [blessing] on the Torah Reading.


1st Aliya: Yitzchak is 40 years old (2088) when he marries Rivkah. After 20 years, Esav and Yakov are born. The Parsha jumps from their birth to Yakov’s purchase of the 1st born rights from Esav at the age of 15. (2123 – the day Avraham died)

2nd Aliya: The Parsha returns to the story of Yitzchak and Rivkah and the famine which forces them to settle among the Plishtim. Yitzchak, like his father before him, has a moral confrontation with Avimelech, after which his fields are uniquely prolific and financially successful.

3rd Aliya: Yitzchak’s financial success leads to jealousy with his Plishtim neighbors. He re-digs Avraham’s wells, resulting in a confrontation with the Plishtim over water rights. He moves back to Beer Sheva.

4th Aliya: Hashem (G-d), in a dream, confirms for Yitzchak the future of his children. Avimelech, the King of the Plishtim, and his General, Phicol, approach Yitzchak to make a peace treaty.

5th Aliya: The treaty between Yitzchak and the Plishtim is celebrated. The Parsha returns to the story of Yakov and Esav. Esav’s marriage to two Canaanite women at the age of 40 (2148) brings disappointment to Yitzchak and Rivkah. In 2171, when Yakov and Esav are 63 and Yitzchak is 123, Yitzchak blesses Yakov and Esav. The Parsha details the duplicity of Yakov and Rivkah in fooling Yitzchak.

6th Aliya: Yitzchak blesses Yakov with spiritual and material gain, after which Esav returns to discover Yakov’s plot. He receives his own blessing for material gain, and is determined to kill Yakov. Rivkah, fearful for Yakov’s life, convinces Yitzchak to send Yakov to her brother Lavan in search of a shiduch – a wife. Yitzchak confirms on Yakov the future of the Jewish nation before his departure to Lavan.

7th Aliya: Yakov departs for Padan Aram, and Esav marries the daughter of Yishmael. (his 1/2 1st cousin)