Putting On An Act

June 23, 2009

5 min read


Toldot (Genesis 25:19-28:9 )

Isaac and Rebecca had twin sons, Esau and Jacob. Even though they were twins, the boys were as different as could be. Esau grew up to be a tough hairy hunter who loved to make trouble. And Jacob was a good hearted and peaceful scholar.

Esau didn’t only trap animals though. He also trapped people by fooling them into believing that he was really a good person. He would put on a big show to look good on the outside while inside he was very mean and nasty.

Esau fooled a lot of people, but his mother Rebecca knew the truth. She also knew that Jacob was good through and through.

One day, their grandfather Abraham passed away. The whole family was very sad, except for Esau, who went out on a hunting trip like nothing had happened. He even murdered someone while he was out that day. He didn't care about anyone except himself.

When he got back home he saw his brother Jacob cooking a special stew to give their father Isaac while he mourned for Abraham. Esau, who was hungry from all his killing and destroying, demanded that Jacob give him the stew to eat right away.

Jacob said, "This is for our father, if you want to wait I’ll make more for you. But if you want it now, sell me your birthright."

The birthright was the right of the first born to lead the people in their father's good ways and to teach them about God.

Esau laughed. “What do I care about that kind of stuff. Just give me some good food.”

“It’s a deal!” said Jacob.

He gave Esau the stew and was very happy because he knew that now the future would be in the hands of someone who cared.


Esau knew how to pretend to be who he really wasn’t. In this story a boy discovers that a smiling face is sometimes only...


This is going to be a great summer! thought Alan.

His parents had taken him to Camp Sheker for a pre-season interview, and everyone was so nice. All the staff from the director to the bunk counselors had come out to personally greet him. They made Alan feel like a million bucks. Alan especially liked Richie, the assistant counselor.

Richie told his parents, “I hope you decide to send him here because I’m sure that Alan and I are going to be best buddies this summer.”

But now, with the summer almost over, Alan still wondered what had happened to his “best buddy.” In fact, Richie hadn’t talked to Alan once the whole summer, unless you wanted to count the time he told Alan to be quiet. That was when Alan had been moaning in his bunk with a high fever, and Richie was trying to listen to his rock-and-roll tape for what seemed like the thousandth time that day.

It really seemed to Alan that Richie didn't know he existed, until the last day of camp, that is, when Alan’s parents came to pick him up. Just as Alan and his dad were about to get in the car to drive off, Alan felt an unfamiliar arm around his shoulder.

“It was a really great summer with you, Al!” smiled Richie. “Let’s keep in touch over the winter, pal,” he beamed.

Alan's dad gave Richie a generous tip as a token of appreciation, and Alan stared at the counselor wondering to himself if this was the same Richie who had ignored him the whole summer.

In the car Alan said to his father, “You know Dad, some people put on an act; they really are not who they pretend to be. I’m lucky that I can be happy just being me.”


Ages 3-5

Q. How did Alan feel when Richie ignored him at camp after promising to be his friend?
A. He felt disappointed and sad, because Richie didn’t act the way he said he would.

Q. How do you feel when someone says one thing and then does something else?


Ages 6-9

Q. Why do you think Richie was so nice to Alan the first time he came to camp and when he left?
A. Because at first he wanted to convince Alan’s parents to send him. And at the end he wanted Alan's dad to give him a tip.

Q. Is there anyway we can prevent being fooled by people like Richie?
A. Not really. If people act nice we have to believe that they are nice, until they show us otherwise. We always have to give people benefit of the doubt.


Ages 10 and Up

Q. Why do you think someone would act two-faced?

Q. Do you think you could be friends with someone who acts like that? If you could, do you think it would be easy or difficult? Why?


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