November 7, 2021, Hadassah Hospital, Jerusalem, Israel
"And this is the life story, the history and lessons, of Isaac the son of Abraham. Abraham gave birth to Isaac." (Bereshith, Genesis, Chapter 25, verse 19)
This is a problematic verse that intrigued the rabbis and Biblical commentators over the generations. The verse seems to be redundant. This is the history of Isaac the son of Abraham. So obviously we know that Abraham gave birth to Isaac! So why does the Bible waste time telling us the obvious?
There are many interpretations, all valid, offered to this question. I will add my own.
The word in Hebrew is "Toldoth", these are the Toldoth of Isaac. What does this word mean? It is generally translated in English as "genealogy" Or, "These are the generations of Isaac the son of Abraham." But that is not entirely accurate. The Hebrew means off-springs, or that which is derived from another, or the product of something. This will lend a different meaning to the passage.
Isaac is born, and this here is the story of Isaac, so we begin: this is the life story, or the history, of Isaac, who is known as Isaac Son of Abraham.
Now we have introduced our topic, we continue; Abraham gave birth to Isaac. What does this teach us?
It teaches us that Isaac's life story does not begin with his own birth, no, not at all. Isaacs' life story begins with his father Abraham. For no man is born in a vacuum, and no man is entirely self-made. Isaac's true story begins with his father; without knowing about his father we cannot fully understand Isaac's life development. We need to go back a generation.
It is Abraham who raised Isaac, it is Abraham who gave him his path, his faith in God and the covenant with the Eternal God. It is Abraham who reared him in this righteous path. Isaac's life story begins with Abraham.
And then we continue with the story of the birth of his children, including his spiritual successor, Yaakov/Jacob. We see that the emphasis here is on the chain of tradition, the passing on of moral values. All men shall pass from this earth, from this life, but only some will leave an impact. The Biblical lesson is to leave the world a better place than you found it. The message is you are a link in a chain to the future generations. This is why the Bible made this "redundant" statement, for it is not redundant at all. The message is if you want the history of Isaac, lets' go back a generation and understand where he came from, for Abraham reared Isaac in the path of riotousness.
With Krav Maga we aim to make a difference in this world, we wish to leave a legacy of training people to protect themselves. Our students are our spiritual offspring, and our own legacy begins with our teachers. We must honor our teachers and we must be devoted to our students. This is how we make an impact and leave the world a better place than we found it.