Descendants. That is the name of this weeks Torah portion, the lesson of the week in Judaism. There is also movies that kids are crazy about called Descendants, and I had no idea at first what they were about. Then I realized they were children of all the good and evil princess, queens, kings, and characters in all kinds of fairy tales, movies, and stories. We are fascinated by families, relationships, and how genetics and upbringing play a role in each one of us.
The video above has brilliant tips for living a full life, and below are Jewish lessons this week that affect us in everyday life.
Consequences to our words and actions. I’m very good at seeing what the consequences to my actions could be, but not as good with my words. Always something to work on!
The Talmud defines a wise person as someone who can see the consequences of his actions (prevention is the best medicine). What this means is that if a person always behaves out of habit and never takes the time to think things out, he is liable to err. This week, Esau, Jacob’s brother, sells his birthright for “a pot of soup.” To us, it seems inconceivable that someone could give up so much for so little, but the Torah tells us “Esau ate and drank and got up and went and despised the birthright” (Genesis 25:34). This is the only place in the Torah where 5 verbs are used consecutively, indicating that Esau always kept himself busy, constantly reacting to his impulses, so much so that he never stopped to think what the outcome of his actions would be. One of the things we can learn from this is that if we don’t stop and think about what we’re doing, if we don’t try to see the consequences of our choices, we can very easily be left with nothing but “a pot of soup” and miss out on all the real opportunities and gifts that the Almighty places in front of us.