This week’s Parsha, Parsha Toldot, starts off with Yitzchak and Rivka and their two sons, Yaakov and Eisav. When the Torah is introducing these two sons, it says the following:
"ואלה תולדת יצחק בן אברהם אברהם הוליד את יצחק" - “And these are the offspring of Yitzchak son of Avraham; Avraham gave birth to Yitzchak.” (25:19)
Why does the Torah have to repeat that Yitzchak was the son of Avraham and then that Avraham was the father of Yitzchak? We know that nothing in the Torah is redundant.
What’s even more interesting is that when the Torah is introducing the children of someone else, like Yishmael, it simply says "ואלה תלדת ישמעאל בן אברהם" — “And these are the offspring of Yishmael, Avraham’s son,” without repeating anything.
And even for Eisav, the Torah simply states, "ואלה תולדות עשו" — “And these are the offspring of Eisav,” without even mentioning his father. Therefore, why is it repeated with Yitzchak?
Yitzchak met a variety of people over the course of his life, with most of them recognizing what a tzaddik he was. Yet every time he was complimented, rather than taking the credit himself, he would respond something along the lines of “I am really insignificant. The only great thing about me is that I am the son of a great father, Avraham.” And likewise, whenever Avraham received praise for his greatness, he would humbly respond “All this is insignificant. The only important thing is that I have a son such as Yitzchak.” Both Yitzchak and Avraham took great pride in one another.
The same cannot be said of either Yishmael or Eisav. Although Yishmael was very proud to have Avraham as his father, Avraham wasn’t so thankful to have Yishmael as a son, especially compared to Yitzchak. In Eisav’s case, neither him nor his father Yitzchak took any pride in the other one.
This comes to show us the significance of relationships between parents and children. Yitzchak having grown up with such a strong relationship with Avraham allowed him to create and maintain healthy bonds with future individuals in his lifetime.
We can learn from both Yitzchak and Avraham to cherish our relationships with each other rather than take them for granted because those relationships will be beneficial in the long run, no matter how they are perceived.
By: Tova Bossewitch