This week Fischer High School senior, Rachel Neuwirth, offers thoughts on parashat toldot …
In this week’s parsha, Parshat Toldot, Rebecca bears twins. Before they are even born, Hashem tells Rebecca, “Two nations are in your womb, and two kingdoms will separate from your innards, and one kingdom will become mightier than the other kingdom, and the elder will serve the younger.” And, at the moment of their birth, Esau pushes Jacob aside and becomes the first born while Jacob comes out holding onto Esau’s heel, displaying their sibling dispute. As they grow up, their differences start to surface. Esau is described as ruddy, having a heavy coat and hair, and a man of the field and a hunter, while Jacob has smooth skin and is an innocent tent dweller that studies. And, in the end, Jacob and Esau take different life paths and father two separate nations.
Although Esau and Jacob were brothers, their differences were obvious. Similarly, although our class is like a family, we are all different. We’ve spent thirteen years growing together and knowing every single thing about each other. At our “birth”, or the first day of kindergarten, we, like Jacob and Esau, all looked strikingly different but, like infants, we had not developed our own personalities yet. However, as we matured into our high school years together, my peers and I all began to head in different directions. We are no longer a group of children, but rather a group of young adults individually pursuing and competing for our futures. Some of us have drifted towards the arts, some towards academics, and some towards athletics. So, perhaps, we do parallel the twins’ features where one is a tent dweller and one is a man of the field.
As an example, two hypothetical people become friends in kindergarten and remain friends throughout elementary school. When they begin middle school, they start taking different classes and pursuing different thing; one joins the basketball team and becomes involved in more athletic activities while the other joins the science club and take many science classes. However, they still remain the closest of friends. As they approach high school, they grow closer to their own friends on the basketball team and science club and grow further and further apart from each other. Finally, at graduation, they each receive their diplomas and embark on their own life journeys at different colleges with different career paths.
Similarly, although we may take different paths in life, we are ultimately family. We started our journey together and we will all finish it together at graduation. Our differences throughout the years made us unique, strong individuals who will draw upon this strength as we become successful adults.