Today we read Parshat Toldot. Toldot describes two brothers, Esau and Jacob, who are total opposites. Esau, a courageous hunter, loves physical power. He does things on the spur of the moment. Jacob, on the other hand, is sensitive, gentle and plans in advance. He understands that in order to succeed, you must keep one foot in the future.
After a long day of hunting, Esau approached Jacob, who was cooking a delicious pot of stew. While Esau immediately demanded the stew, Jacob contemplated how he might gain from this situation. Jacob explained that Esau could have the stew only if he promises to give Jacob the birthright. The trade was completed, and Esau had his stew, but Jacob would get the far more rewarding birthright in the future.
Esau was only thinking how, in that moment, he could gain immediate satisfaction. Jacob, however, was considering how he could assist himself in the long term. In the modern world there is so much instant gratification from social media and the internet. It is so easy to become distracted moment by moment with our hectic lives. We must remember to take the time to to think about our future and take
actions that will bring us toward our long-term goals.
For example, over the last year, I might have been tempted to spend time snapchatting friends rather than preparing for my bat mitzvah. However, the time spent studying my haftorah and Torah readings has helped me to grow spiritually, which I will carry forward into the future.
My parents exemplified the values of Jacob by investing in my future through sending me to Krieger Schechter Day School.
Don’t get me wrong, it is still important to take the time to stop and smell the roses. For my bat mitzvah project, my friends and I planned and hosted, through Chai-Lifeline, monthly birthday celebrations for kids with cancer and chronic illnesses to bring some joy into their lives. We must enjoy life’s journey while always keeping in mind the lesson of Jacob (and Warren Buffet) to take the long view and invest in our future.
Sara Silverman is a seventh-grade student at Krieger Schechter Day School.