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Toldot: The Voice of Jacob

Updated: 3 days ago

“To you men, I call! I send my voice to the sons of mankind.” Proverbs 8:4

In Parashat Toldot (Genesis 25:19–28:9), we read of the starkly different lives of Jacob and Esav. Esav is a man of the field, a hunter like Nimrod. Yaakov is a man dwelling in tents, like Shem the son of Noach. Even though they are twins, their external appearances are polar opposites,


“Behold, Esau my brother is a hairy man, and I am a smooth man.” Genesis 27:11

The Torah says of Esav,

“The first came out red all over, like a hairy garment. They named him Esav.” Genesis 25:25

Esav was already “done” when he emerged from the womb, and he was red (admoni). The Targum even says that Esav was born with a beard!

“And the first came forth wholly red, as a garment of hair: and they called his name Esau, because he was born altogether complete, with the hair of the head, and the beard, and teeth, and grinders.” Targum Pseudo-Jonathan

According to the Masoretic scribes this phrase occurs twice in the Tanakh. The second reference is in 1 Samuel, speaking of David,

“He sent, and brought him in. Now he was ruddy (admoni), and with a beautiful face, and goodly to look on. HaShem said, ‘Arise, anoint him, for this is he.” 1 Samuel 16:12

R’ Yaakov ben Asher
R’ Yaakov ben Asher

The Baal HaTurim, R’ Yaakov ben Asher (1269 – 1343 CE), notes,

“Red – The masoretic note ב means that this word appears twice in the Tanach (i) here, ויצא הראשון אדמוני The first one emerged red and (ii) והוא אדמוני עם יפה עינים And he was red, with fair eyes (1 Samuel 16:12), regarding David. When [the prophet] Samuel saw that David was red, he said, “Perhaps he is a shedder of blood, like Esau!” Therefore, that verse goes on to say, עם יפה עינים with fair eyes, i.e. whatever he does is with the agreement of the members of Sanhedrin (High Court) who are called “eyes”- as it is said, If from the eyes of the assembly (Numbers 15:24).” Baal HaTurim Chumash, Bereishis, Mesorah Publications, ltd., pg. 212

It is stunning that David HaMelech is cloaked in the appearance of Esav! Why does the Torah mention this?! This teaches us a great secret about the Son of David and Esav, as the Song of Songs says,

“My beloved is white and ruddy.” Song of Solomon 5:10

The King Mashiach is concealed in the garments of Esav, but his voice is the voice of Yaakov.

Edom Equals Adam

Esav was called ‘Edom’ אדום because of his sin in selling his birthright in order to eat,

“And Esav said to Yaakov: ‘Let me swallow some of this red, red stuff, I beg you, for I am faint.’ Therefore his name was called Edom.” Genesis 25:30

The shoresh (root) of Edom is the same as Adam:

This is the essence of all sin, a momentary gratification that causes great damage to the sinner and those around him. Hebrews says,

“Follow after peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no man will see the Lord, looking carefully lest there be any man who falls short of the grace of G-d; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and many be defiled by it; lest there be any sexually immoral person, or profane person, like Esau, who sold his birthright for one meal. For you know that even when he afterward desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for a change of mind though he sought it diligently with tears.” Hebrews 12:14-17

Interestingly, Adam also forfeited his inheritance through “eating” thus losing access to the Tree of Life,

“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat; and she gave also unto her husband with her, and he did eat.” Genesis 3:6

Adam then heard the voice of HaShem Elokim walking in the Garden of Eden,

“And they heard the voice of HaShem Elokim walking in the garden toward the cool of the day; and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of HaShem Elokim among the trees of the garden. And HaShem Elokim called unto the man, and said unto him: ‘Where are you?’ Genesis 3:8-9

The Ramban, R’ Moshe ben Nachman, comments,

“The Rabbis have said in Bereshith Rabbah: Rabbi Chilfi said that from here we may learn that a voice ‘walks,’ for it is said, And they heard the voice of the Eternal G-d walking. And so did the Rabbi [Moshe ben Maimon] write in Moreh Nevuchim. And so is the opinion of Rabbi Abraham ibn Ezra that “walking” refers to the “voice”… In my opinion, the sense of walking in the garden of Eden is similar to that of the verses: And I will walk among you. . . The Divine Presence was revealed in the garden approaching them in the wind of the day because the breath of the Eternal blew upon it, that is the garden…” Ramban on Genesis 3:8, translated by Rabbi C. Chavel, Shilo Publishing House, pg. 81-82

Thus, Adam fell, causing cataclysmic spiritual and physical damage to the universe, shattering the mirror of his reflection of HaShem. This created a need for the cosmic mission of Mashiach ben Yosef. R’ Daniel Krentzman remarks,

“The need for the mission of Mashiach ben Yosef came about as a result of the sin of Adam. In theory, had Adam not sinned and brought about tremendous spiritual damage to himself and the world, there would not have been a need for the tikun olam efforts of Mashiach ben Yosef, in every subsequent generation. Mashiach ben Yosef thus comes to rectify that damage and return mankind to the state of Adam before the sin.” Yonah the Navi as Mashiach ben Yosef, Daniel Krentzman, pg. 10 [1]


When HaShem created the universe, everything was perfect. This is evident within the Hebrew word ‘toldot’ which is the name of our Parasha. It means genealogy, generation, history or story. Genesis says,

אֵלֶּה תֹולְדֹות הַשָּׁמַיִם וְהָאָרֶץ

“This is the history of the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the HaShem Elokim made the earth and the heavens.” Genesis 2:4

Notice how the word toldot is spelled, תולדות, with two vavs. Yet, when the genealogy of Adam is recorded, one vav is missing:

זֶה סֵפֶר תֹּולְדֹת אָדָם

“This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that G-d created man, in the likeness of G-d He made him…” Genesis 5:1

It is spelled with only one vav! The vav remains missing all the way down through the generations of Yitzchak,

וְאֵלֶּה תֹּולְדֹת יִצְחָק בֶּן־אַבְרָהָם

“And these are the generations of Yitzchak…” Genesis 25:19

In the genealogy of Yishmael, it becomes even more defective, missing TWO vavs,

וְאֵלֶּה תֹּלְדֹת יִשְׁמָעֵאל בֶּן־אַבְרָהָם

“And these are the generations of Yishmael…” Genesis 25:12

What does this ‘Hidden Vav’ represent? When will it be restored? Amazingly, the book of Ruth reveals the secret in the genealogy of the Messiah:

 וְאֵלֶּה תֹּולְדֹות פָּרֶץ

“Here is the genealogy of Peretz…” Ruth 4:18

The Midrash comments,

“R. Berekiah said in the name of R. Samuel b. Nahman: Though these things were created in their fullness, yet when Adam sinned they were spoiled, and they will not again return to their perfection until the son of Perez [viz. Messiah] comes; [for in the verse] “These are the toledoth (generations) of Perez”, toledoth is spelled fully, with a vav. These are they: [1] his lustre, [2] his immortality, [3] his height, [4] the fruit of the earth and [5] the fruit of trees, and [6] the luminaries.” Genesis Rabbah 12:6, Soncino Press Edition

Body and Spirit

Throughout the Torah, we see a pattern of doublets, twins, one who represents the physical and the other spiritual:

Paul says,

“So also it is written, The first man, Adam, became a living soul. The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However that which is spiritual isn’t first, but that which is natural, then that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, made of dust. The second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the one made of dust, such are those who are also made of dust; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. As we have borne the image of those made of dust, let us also bear the image of the heavenly.” 1 Corinthians 15:45-49

Adam and Mashiach are these “twins.” As Adam was created and placed in the garden, so Mashiach was resurrected in a garden. R’ Ginsburgh says,

“The two words which form the name Adam Kadmon allude to its paradoxical nature of being, on the one hand a created being–Adam–while on the other hand a manifestation of primordial Divinity–Kadmon. For this reason, Adam Kadmon is often seen to represent the archetypal soul of Mashiach, the general yechida of all the souls of Israel, the ultimate “crown” of all of G-d’s Creation, the Divine “intermediate” which reveals primordial Infinity to finite created reality.” R’ Yitzchak Ginsburgh, Adam Kadmon, Primordial Man,

The Voice of Yaakov

Rebekah convinced Yaakov to ‘cloak’ himself with the garments of Esav,

“She put the skins of the young goats on his hands, and on the smooth of his neck.” Genesis 27:16

וַיִּגַּשׁ יַעֲקֹב אֶל־יִצְחָק אָבִ֖יו וַיְמֻשֵּׁהוּ וַיֹּאמֶר הַקֹּל קֹול יַעֲקֹב וְהַיָּדַיִם יְדֵי עֵשָׂו

As Yaakov enters in to receive Yitzhak’s blessing, Yitzhak makes a cryptic statement,

“The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esav…” Genesis 27:22

Within this small sentence are the greatest mysteries concealed. The Talmud says,

“The voice is the voice of Jacob” – no prayer is effective unless the seed of Jacob has a part in it. “The hands are the hands of Esau”- no war is successful unless the seed of Esau has a share in it.” The Talmud, cited at

R’ Ari Kahn comments,

“Let us examine these symbols more closely: Whereas the voice is an expression of something internal, hands are external. Hands are a symbol of force. The strength they represent is part of the commonality that man shares with the animal kingdom, but the voice is ruach – air or spirit, emanating from within. Voice is what man has in common with G-d. It is the result of G-d’s breath within us, which animates, gives existence and human identity. That the realm of Yaakov is primarily one of “voice” should not surprise us. That the realm of Esav is primarily “hands” should also not surprise us.” R’ Ari Kahn, M’oray HaAish, The Voice (and Hands) of Yaakov, [2]

Rebbe Nachman says,

“The voice is the voice of Jacob” – the one who is righteous, the one who prays, the one who always arouses compassion from G-d. “But the hands are the hands of Esau” – for he understood that Jacob appeared in Esau’s “clothing” in the position of demanding the blessings. . . in order for the righteous to exist, they must subdue “Esau” – the realm of the Other Side…and ultimately remove the blessings from the Other Side, returning them to their rightful place in the realm of holiness.” Rebbe Nachman’s Torah, Parashat Toldot, citing Likutey Halachot IV, p. 20a, Breslov Research Institute, pg. 207

He continues,

“The “voice of Jacob” corresponds to the voice of rebuke…” Rebbe Nachman’s Torah, Parashat Toldot, Breslov Research Institute, pg. 207

R’ Chaim Kramer summarizes Rebbe Nachman’s teaching in connection with Mashiach,

“…the Voice of Rebuke is rooted in Eden, which corresponds to Keter, the source of Mashiach’s vitality (see Tikkuney Zohar 55, pg 88a). At the level of Keter only kindness exists. Thus the rebuke given will reveal that kindness, causing people to draw near to Mashiach…Mashiach will possess this “Voice of Rebuke” because MaShIaCh is like MaSiach, “one who speaks.” Since Mashiach is bound together with all souls through his acute sense of smell (i.e. the “nose”(he will be able to rebuke everyone properly, to arouse awe within them and draw them closer to G-d. His voice will be the flowing “River” from Eden…” Mashiach, Who What Why How Where When, R’ Chaim Kramer, Breslov Research Institute, pgs. 66-67

Song of Songs says,

“The flowers appear on the earth. The time of the singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.” Song of Solomon 2:12

Edom = Rome = Christianity

Edom links to Rome, based on a prophecy in Psalms that speaks of the children of Edom destroying the Temple as Rome did in 70 CE,

“Remember, HaShem, against the children of Edom, the day of Jerusalem; who said, ‘Raze it! Raze it even to its foundation!” Psalms 137:7

In Jewish thought, Rome is synonymous with Christianity, that is, a system that conceals the Jewishness of Yeshua. This is where Mashiach’s Name is hidden and is a prisoner. The idea of the imprisoned Messiah may be alluded to in Ecclesiastes,

“Better is a poor and wise youth than an old and foolish king who doesn’t know how to receive admonition any more. For out of prison he came forth to be king, yes, even in his kingdom he was born poor.” Ecclesiastes 4:13-14

Pirkei Avot de-Rabbi Nathan comments on this verse,

“When a man bestirs himself and goes off to some unchastity, all his limbs obey him, For the evil impulse is king over his two hundred and forty eight limbs. When he goes off to some good deed, all his limbs begin to drag. For the evil impulse within a man is monarch over his two hundred  and forty eight limbs, while the good impulse is like a captive in prison, as it is said, For out of prison he came forth to be king (Eccl. 4:14), that is to say, the good impulse. . .  And some say: ‘The verse in Ecclesiastes refers to Joseph the righteous…” Pirkei Avot de Rabbi Natan, translated by Judah Goldin, Yale University Press, pg. 85

Sefer Zerubbabel says Mashiach is imprisoned in Rome,

“He said to me, ‘Go to the “house of filth” near the market-district,’ and I went just as he had commanded me. He said to me, ‘Turn this way,’ and so I turned. He touched me, and then I saw a man (who was) despicable, broken down and in pain. That despicable man said to me: ‘Zerubbabel!? What business do you have here? Who has brought you here?’ I responded and said: ‘A wind from the Lord lifted me up and carried me to this place.’ He said to me: ‘Do not be afraid, for you have been brought here in order that He might show you (and then you in turn might inform the people of Israel about everything which you see).’ When I heard his words, I was consoled and regained my self-composure. I asked him, ‘Sir, what is the name of this place?’ He said to me, ‘This is mighty Rome, wherein I am imprisoned.’ I said to him, ‘Who then are you? What is your name? What do you seek here? What are you doing in this place?’ He said to me, ‘I am the Messiah of the L-rd, the son of Hezekiah confined in prison until the time of the End.’ Sefer Zerubbabel, translated by John C. Reeves [3]

In some way, the Mashiach ben Yosef is imprisoned within us, chained by our own choice. When we overcome the temptation to sin, and defeat the yetzer hara, the evil inclination, he is “released from prison.” Personally, when we ‘release Mashiach ben Yosef’ in our lives, he becomes manifest in the world, through us. Collectively, when Israel repents and recognizes the Mashiach ben Yosef, the Redemption will begin. The concealment of the Messiah in Edom (Rome) is the secret of the verse,

“Jacob went near to Isaac his father. He felt him, and said, ‘The voice is the voice of  Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau.” Genesis 27:22

As Yaakov was cloaked in Esav, Yosef HaTzaddik and even Moshe Rabbeinu were cloaked in Egypt. Messiah is hidden in the antithesis of Israel, but he is not part of the system. From a distance, he appears to be part of Rome, but he is actually on the outside of its gates, waiting for Israel to be ready. Isaiah speaks of this day,

“Who is this who comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this who is glorious in his clothing, marching in the greatness of his strength? It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.” Isaiah 63:1

The Ramchal, R’ Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, comments on this passage,

ועתה הנני מפרש לך סוד אחד חתום מאד והוא מה שכתוב מי זה בא מאדום וגוי [ישעיה סג, א] וכל זה הוא הצדיק, והוא משיח בן יוסף

“I will explain to you a certain sod which is completely sealed, and it concerns what is written, “Who is this who comes from Edom…’ (Yeshayahu 63:1). This is the Tzaddik, and he is Mashiach ben Yosef.” Ramchal, Ma’amar HaGeulah, Secrets of the Redemption, Translated by R’ Mordecai Nissim, Feldheim Press, pg. 118

The Midrash Rabbah says,

“SANCTIFY UNTO ME ALL THE FIRSTBORN (13:1). R. Nathan said: The Holy One, blessed be He, told Moses: ‘ Just as I have made Jacob a firstborn, for it says: Israel is My son, My firstborn (Ex. 4:22) so will I make the King Messiah a firstborn, as it says: I also will appoint him firstborn (Ps. 89:28).” Exodus Rabbah 14:7, Soncino Press Edition

Exodus Rabbah continues,

“G-d is in a way called ‘first’, as it says: ‘I am the first, and I am the last (Isa. 44:6).’ Zion is called ‘first’, as it says: ‘You throne of glory, on high from the first, you place of our sanctuary (Jer. 17:12). Esau was called ‘first’, for it says: ‘And the first came forth ruddy (Gen. 25:25)’, and Messiah is called ‘first’, for it says: ‘The first unto Zion will I give: Behold, behold them (Isa. 41:27).’ G-d who is called ‘the first’ will come and build the Temple which is also called ‘first’, and will exact retribution from Esau, also called ‘first’. Then will Messiah who is called ‘first’ will come in the first month, as it is said: THIS MONTH SHALL BE UNTO YOU THE BEGINNING OF MONTHS.” Exodus Rabbah 15:1, Soncino Press Edition

Rebbe Nachman says,

“Jacob will never let Esau be victorious and trap forever the souls waiting for rectification. He will grab hold of Esau and eventually remove those souls from his grip.” Rebbe Nachman’s Torah, Parashat Toldot, Breslov Research Institute, pg. 207

The Ramchal, R’ Moshe Hayyim Luzzatto, writes,

“Messiah ben Joseph comes forth, his hand grasping Esau’s heel; the Sitra Ahra has a hold on the heels of holiness at the lower levels, and accordingly the Messiah ben Joseph must go into all parts of the husk, even the heels, to extract every good part of it, for which reason ‘his hand grasps the heel of Esau’, and that is the underlying meaning of the ‘on the heels of the Messiah’, that is necessary to subdue these heels.” R’ Moshe Hayyim Luzzato, Megilat Setarim 7, cited in Messianic Mysticism, Isaiah Tishby, Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, pg 243

The Missing Ayin

Yet, the Baal HaTurim notes an interesting gematria in the name of Esav,

"The gematria of this name (376) is equal to that of peace. Were Esau’s name not identified with peace, he would have destroyed the world.” Baal HaTurim Chumash, Bereishis, Mesorah Publishing, Ltd., pg. 212

How can Esav’s name be associated with peace? He is a person of war. R’ Menachem Mendel of Kotzk says that the truth is not necessary as things appear, as HaShem told Shmuel the Prophet,

“HaShem sees not as man sees, for man looks on the outward appearance, but HaShem looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

As we see in our Parsha, the one who appears as Esav is actually Yaakov. The Mashiach is hidden and cloaked in Christianity (but is not actually Esav), and his name is peace as Isaiah says:

כִּי־יֶלֶד יֻלַּד־לָנוּ בֵּן נִתַּן־לָנוּ וַתְּהִי הַמִּשְׂרָה עַל־שִׁכְמֹו וַיִּקְרָא שְׁמֹו פֶּלֶא יֹועֵץ אֵל גִּבֹּור אבִיעַד שַׂר־שָׁלֹום׃

“For to us a child is born. To us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty G-d, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

R’ Yose the Galilean comments,

’’.רבי יוסי הגלילי אומר “אף שמו של משיח נקרא שלום שנאמר אבי עד שר שלום” ישעיה ט

“Yose the Galilean said: “The name of the Messiah is Peace, for it is said, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:5) . . .” R. Yose the Galilean said: “Great is peace, for in that hour in which King Messiah is revealed to Israel, he begins with peace, for it is said, How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger of good tidings who announces peace (Isa. 52:7).” Perek Shalom, p. 101, cited in The Messiah Texts, by Raphael Patai, pg. 21

The Baal HaTurim also notes that the ayin is equivalent to 70, linking to the 70 nations. Today, in Judaism, Yeshua is known as Yeshu, ישו. The ayin of his name is missing as the seventy nations, lead by Rome, have concealed the ayin of Yeshua’s name. This is evident in Genesis 25:26, the ayin is held by Esav (Christianity):

In Judaism, it is taught that HaShem’s name is likewise broken, the Yud-Kei-Vav have been separated from the Final Hei, just like the Yud-Shin-Vav have been separated from the Final Ayin. The entire purpose of creation is to reunite HaShem’s Name. Ariel Cohen Alloro, a disciple of R’ Yitzhak Ginsburgh, links these two together,

י = י ה = ש ו = ו ה = ע

According to Alloro’s incredible teachings, even the land of Israel, Judea, Samaria and Gaza, (in Hebrew: Yehuda, Shomron v’Aza) spells the name of Yeshua. Today, the one part of the land that remains the hands of the Gentiles is Aza, that is, the ayin!  It is time for the 70 nations to return the ayin to Yeshua’s name. It is time for Israel to receive back that which belongs to her. When the ayin returns, the Last Hei (the Bride) will return to the Vav (The Groom). And all will be one. As Zechariah says,

והיה יי למלך על־כל־הארץ ביום ההוא יהיה יי אחד ושׁמו אחד

“HaShem will be King over all the earth. In that day HaShem will be one, and his name one.” Zechariah 14:9

The last letters of the phrase “…one and His Name one” in Hebrew spell דוד, David. It will be accomplished through the hand of the Son of David, if we listen to his voice. As the beautiful song Lecha Dodi says,

התנערי מעפר קומי לבשי בגדי תפארתך עמי על יד בן ישי בית הלחמי קרבה אל נפשי גאלה

“Shake yourself free, rise from the dust, Dress in your garments of splendor, my people, By the hand of the Son of Jesse of Bethlehem, Unto my soul, Redemption draws near.” Lecha Dodi



  1. Yonah HaNavi as Mashiach ben Yosef, R’ Daniel Krentzman

  2. The Voice (and Hands) of Yaakov, R’ Ari Kahn,

  3. Sefer Zerubabbel, translated by John C. Reeves

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