Isaac and Rebecca pray to G-d for a child. Rebecca finally conceives, and after a difficult pregnancy gives birth to twins — Esau and Jacob. Their personality differences soon grow apparent, as Esau turns to hunting while Jacob is pure and wholesome, spending his time studying Torah. Returning from a hunting expedition, Esau finds Jacob cooking a pot of lentil soup. Jacob agrees to give his older brother a portion from the pot of soup in exchange for the spiritual birthright. Faced with a
severe famine, Isaac and family settle in Gerar (the land of the Philistines within Israel’s borders) rather than descend to Egypt as his father Abraham had done years before. After experiencing astonishing financial success, Isaac comes into continual conflict with King Avimelech over the wells which Isaac dug anew. This pattern of ‘success and persecution’ has repeated itself throughout Jewish history. Isaac decides to bless Esau as the firstborn. At Rebecca’s insistence, Jacob disguises himself as his older brother and receives the blessing of the firstborn (which rightfully belonged to
him). The Torah portion concludes with Jacob fleeing from Esau’s wrath for ‘stealing’ his blessing and escaping to Charan to stay with his uncle, Laban, where he is to find a wife.