Dear Family and Friends,
In the beginning of this week’s Parshah it tells us the struggles of Rivka and Yitzchak to have children. “And Isaac prayed to the Lord opposite his wife because she was barren, and the Lord accepted his prayer, and Rebecca his wife conceived.” (25:21) Rashi comments that the implication of the masculine singular form is that G-d responded to Yitzchak’s prayer, rather that Rivkah’s. There is no comparison between the prayer of a righteous child of a righteous person and that of a righteous child of a wicked person.
I was bothered by this Rashi a little. How is this fair? Rivkah has to work so hard to not follow her family’s way and do Teshuva and yet, she still will not be viewed the same as Yitzchak. We must understand this through looking at it with a different lens. Although it is much more difficult and therefor meritorious for the product of an evil family to become righteous, Yitzchak’s achievement was even more unique than Rivka’s. It would have been easy for him to become a carbon copy of his father, surely as great a role model had ever lived, but Yitzchak did not content himself with that. He forged his own path toward the service of G-d, and the merit of such an accomplishment is awesome.
I think the perspective is not about looking at who is greater, but understanding that it is not enough to just follow in the footsteps of our parents, but make Torah our own. It is about taken all the opportunities given to you and using them to be your own person who serves G-d.
Have a beautiful and uplifting Shabbas! May we each take the gifts that G-d has bestowed on us and use it forge our own path!