Overcoming Destiny

Jacob and Rebekah teach us that we can alter our destinies and achieve greatness.

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Overcoming the Ordinary

In each of these instances, the normal male-dominated world of the Bible is shaken by the emergence of a female who, through her decisive action, represents that everyday assumptions about the world can be broken by humans acting with a sense of purpose and justice.

The Bible places these two theories of history side-by-side. Both govern human behavior. In most cases, humans will follow natural rules such as primogeniture or make little effort to alter their basic characters. But Toldot teaches that we need not be constrained by rigid rules or personal habits. Like Jacob and the women of the Bible, we have the capacity to overcome the ordinary, achieve greatness and change the world.

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Gary Rubin was the former Managing Director of UJA-Federation's Commission on the Jewish People. He died suddenly in April 2003.