Read the story then click on the links below it to do the exercises.
JEWISH BOOKS - STORIES FROM THE TORAH
This is our Torah. It tells about the first Jewish people. It has stories about Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Joseph and Moses.
The Torah also has rules and laws which teach us how to lead a good Jewish life.
Here is a wonderful story from the Torah about two brothers.
JACOB AND ESAU
Isaac and Rebecca had twin sons, Esau and Jacob. Esau was the older and loved to hunt in the fields. Esau was Isaac's favourite son. Rebecca loved Jacob more because he stayed close to home helping his mother.
One time Esau came home very hungry after hunting all day. Jacob was cooking a stew and Esau said,"Give me some of that red stuff quickly, or I shall die!"
Jacob asked, "What will you give me if I feed you now?"
"I will sell you whatever you want in exchange for a bowl of stew," said Esau.
"Sell me the special blessing due to the oldest son," said Jacob.
Esau answered, "Why not? What good is the special blessing when I am so hungry?"
So Esau sold his blessing to Jacob.
In time, Isaac grew old and blind. He called Esau to his bedside. Isaac said, "Soon I am going to die. Before that I would like to eat a meal of freshly-hunted meat. If you will fix this meal for me, I will give you the blessing of the oldest son." So Esau went hunting for meat for his father.
Rebecca overheard what Isaac said. She called Jacob to her and said, "Do as I tell you and the blessing of the oldest son will be yours!" Jacob did all that his mother asked. He brought two young goats to her and she cooked them the way Isaac liked. Then she said, "Take this to your father to eat and he will bless you."
"No," said Jacob. "Father knows that Esau has hairy arms and my arms are smooth. Father cannot see, but if he touches me to bless me, he will know that it is a trick and he will curse me instead."
"I have thought of that," Rebecca said. She gave Jacob some of Esau's clothes to wear. She covered Jacob's arms and hands with the rough skin of the goats she had cooked. Then she gave Jacob the food for his father and sent him in to Isaac.
Jacob said to his father, "Here is the meal you wanted. Come and eat then give me your special blessing."
Isaac said, "Come closer my son. Let me feel you. Then I will know that you are truly Esau." Jacob came closer. Isaac felt his arms and hands and was confused.
"The voice sounds like the voice of Jacob," Isaac thought. "But these are surely the hands of Esau!"
In the end Isaac ate and drank. When he finished eating he gave Jacob the special blessing of the first-born and Jacob left.
A moment later Esau came back from his hunt. He too cooked a meal and brought it to his father. Suddenly Isaac knew that Jacob had fooled him.
Esau said, "Bless me, my father." But Isaac said, "I have given the special blessing to Jacob and it cannot be given again even though he tricked me! Yet I will give you another blessing. You too will grow into a great nation."
Isaac's words came true. Esau became the father of many peoples. Jacob's sons became the Twelve Tribes of Israel, the Jewish people.