So far in this year 5779 on the Jewish calendar I’ve been framing my MMMs on the weekly Parsha, choosing a central theme in consciousness or transcendence.

Looking at different aspects of Parsha Toldot, one thing in particular stands out for me. When Jacob and Esau go to their father, Issac, and continually battle to receive their father’s blessing, Issac spoke about “the hands.”

We know that Jacob disguised himself as his hairy, older brother, Esau, in order to receive his blessing from Issac. Before bestowing his blessing, Issac mentioned that “the hands are the hands of Esau, but the voice is the voice of Jacob.”

That simple statement is connected to a very deep, cosmic, historical, physical and metaphysical reality representing the Jew and the non-Jew throughout history. Meaning, when we, as Jews, are engaged in the spiritual work of the voice (the voice of Jacob) and to the extent we are engaged in that, the hands (the hands of Esau) cannot touch us.

But when we don’t engage in using our voice in prayer, engaging in the Holy Language, meditating on the thoughts and words of G-d, learning them, expressing them and teaching them… when we are not engaged with the words we are not being “word people,” and we can be smothered by the hand of evil.

That’s the metaphor brought out in this Parsha. Everything else is commentary. Not only in this Parsha, but in life. We have to understand that our legacy is this – “the voice is the voice of Jacob.” We have to understand that the blessings in this portion of Torah are about the material, physical things the world can provide us, and that’s part of our lives because we have a physical body which is part of our spirituality.

But, at the core, what we are meant to do when we are protected from the hands of Esau, is raise up the world. Our Sages, commenting on this dichotomy, indicate that it’s a sliding scale, meaning that when one rises the other falls.

To the extent that we use our voices to raise up the world, the other one falls. To the extent that we don’t use our voices to raise up the world, the other one gets strong and we fall.

We need to understand that the best way to approach this dichotomy is through questions, such as:

  • How can we understand from this “hands vs voice” formula the proper way to engage with our evil inclination?
  • How can we understand from this formula the battle of good and evil in the world?
  • How can we understand from this formula the way to break through it all, and reach a place of enlightenment, of Mashiach?
  • How can we understand from this formula how to purge away all of the blocks and obstructions in both our internal and external worlds?
  • How can we get from this formula of the hands and the voice to a place of abundance? Abundance is a big part of the Parsha as well because it’s all about the blessings from their father who was fabulously wealthy, as were all our Patriarchs and Matriarchs.
  • How, by being voice people, can we do that?
  • And how can we best use our voice? Is there a way we can get to the deeper truths, voices and Divinity inside ourselves by plugging into the “voice of Jacob.” Can we forge a path for going into the depth of all that?