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Dvar Torah: Parshat Toldot

Rabbi Alexander Tsykin

"Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire." - Gustav Mahler

This week is Yitzchak's week. After living for so long in his father's shadow, it is finally time for him to become the main character in our story. What does he do with this new prominence, with the limelight? Exactly what his father did before him. First, we hear that Yitzchak's most notable attribute is that he looks and acts just tike his father did before him. Rashi tells us, given Avraham's age when Yitzchak was first born, some doubted Yitzchak's paternity. As such, Hashem made him the image of his father. Later on, when famine   he attempted to emigrate to Egypt, just like his father. When he was prevented from doing so he moved to Grar, just like his father. He even dug wells in the same places that his father had before him. Yitzchak is the ultimate traditional thinker.

Rabbi Soloveitchik explained that after the innovations of Avraham Avinu it was necessary to have a traditionalist, someone who would be able to stay the course and maintain what had already been achieved.

In an age of so much change, not just in society but in our community as well, we must learn the lessons of Yitzchak's conservatism, just as we learn from Avraham's trailblazing.

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