Image: Logo of Hasidah, a nonprofit organization that supports Jewish couples suffering with infertility.
Toledot – “Generations” – Another eventful parashah carries us beyond Abraham and Sarah to the generations that follow. It begins with a situation that repeats again and again in Torah: a couple have trouble conceiving.
Isaac pleaded with the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren; and the LORD responded to his plea, and his wife Rebekah conceived. – Genesis 25:21
This verse will be achingly familiar to many modern readers, although most situations of difficult conception or infertility are not so easily remedied. There is a wonderful organization, Hasidah, which supports and assists Jewish couples who experience infertility. They describe themselves thus:
Hasidah is the voice of hope and compassion that raises awareness of infertility, connects people to support resources, and reduces financial barriers to treatment in the Jewish community.
That last item is significant: infertility treatments, while effective, are horrifically expensive and are usually not covered by insurance. If you have tzedakah money available, sending a donation to Hasidah is a mitzvah, indeed. I serve as a rabbinic partner to Hasidah, and know it to be a well-run organization.
Rebekah conceived, and she delivered twins after a difficult pregnancy. Toledot takes us through that story, and the stories of Jacob and Esau that follow.
Our teachers this week:
When Isaac Speaks: Infertility and Spiritual Awakening by Rabbi Idit Jacques
Toldot, a story of siblings by Rabbi Eleanor Steinman
Peace with Security by Rabbi Aryeh Klapper
Toldot: No More by Anita Silvert
Then why am I? by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat
Bless me too! by Rabbi Nina J Mizrahi
More generations and more branches in our family tree than we notice by Rabbi Sylvia Rothschild
What’s With Those Wells? by Rabbi Amy Scheinerman