Toldot, Siman 1 תולדות, א׳
1 א

יְלַמְּדֵנוּ רַבֵּנוּ, עַל מֶה הָיוּ הַשְּׁלָמִים בָּאִים? כָּךְ שָׁנָה רַבִּי חִיָּא בַּר אַבָּא בְּשֵׁם רַבִּי יְהוּדָה, כָּל הַמֵּבִיא שְׁלָמִים, מֵבִיא שָׁלוֹם לָעוֹלָם.

And these are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son (Gen. 25:19). May it please our master to teach us why peace-offerings (sacrifices) were instituted?1There are three kinds of peace-offerings: the thanks offering, in gratitude for blessings received; the votive offering, upon making a vow; and the free-will offering, as an act of piety. R. Hiyya the son of Abba taught in the name of R. Judah: They were instituted because anyone who brings a peace-offering brings peace to the world.

2 ב

אָמַר רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר, בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁהָיוּ זְבָחִים בָּעוֹלָם, הָיָה שָׁלוֹם. מִשֶּׁחָרַב בֵּית הַזְּבָחִים, אֵין לְךָ יוֹם שֶׁאֵין בּוֹ קְלָלָה וּפֻרְעָנֻיּוֹת. אָמַר רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן בַּר יוֹחַאי, לְעוֹלָם הַשְּׁלָמִים לָשׂוּם שָׁלוֹם הֵן בָּאִין.

R. Eliezer stated: As long as sacrifices were brought, peace prevailed, but after the destruction of the Temple (when offerings were no longer brought) there has not been a single day that has lacked curses and catastrophes.

3 ג

וְאָמַר רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן בַּר יוֹחַאי, גָּדוֹל הוּא הַשָּׁלוֹם, שֶׁדִּבְּרָה הַתּוֹרָה דִּבְרֵי בְדַאי בִּשְׁבִיל שָׁלוֹם. וְאֵי זֶה, כֹּה תֹאמְרוּ לְיוֹסֵף אָנָּא שָׂא נָא פֶּשַׁע אַחֶיךָ וְחַטָּאתָם (בראשית נ, יז). וְאֵין אָנוּ מוֹצְאִים שֶׁצִּוָּה כְּלוּם מִכָּל הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלֶּה, אֶלָּא לְפִי שֶׁהָיָה יוֹדֵעַ חֲסִידוּתוֹ שֶׁל יוֹסֵף וְלֹא הָיָה חוֹשְׁדוֹ וּמַחֲזִיק אוֹתוֹ כְּשׁוֹפְכֵי דָמִים.

R. Simeon the son of Yohai insisted that peace-offerings were always brought for the sake of peace. R. Simeon added: Peace is considered of such importance that the Torah utters a falsehood for its sake. Where is this falsehood to be found? The Torah states: Thy father did command before he died, saying: So shall ye say unto Joseph: Forgive, I pray thee now, the transgression of thy brethren, and their sin (Gen. 50:16–17), but the fact is that we are unable to discover any such statement made by Jacob. He was aware of Joseph’s piety, and would not suspect that he would resort to bloodshed.

4 ד

בֹּא וּרְאֵה כֹּחַ הַשָּׁלוֹם, שֶׁבְּשָׁעָה שֶׁנִּטַּלְטְלָה שָׂרָה מִיַּד פַּרְעֹה לְיַד אֲבִימֶלֶךְ וְנִתְעַבְּרָה בְּיִצְחָק, הָיוּ אֻמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם אוֹמְרִים: הַלְּבֶן מֵאָה שָׁנָה יִוָּלֵד, אֶלָּא הִיא מְעֻבֶּרֶת מֵאֲבִימֶלֶךְ אוֹ מִפַּרְעֹה, וְהָיְתָה חֲשָׁד בְּלִבּוֹ שֶׁל אַבְרָהָם עַל אֵלּוּ הַדְּבָרִים. מֶה עָשָׂה הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, אָמַר לַמַּלְאָךְ הַמְמֻנֶּה עַל יְצִירַת הַוָּלָד, עֲשֵׂה כָּל אִיקוֹנִין שֶׁלּוֹ כִּדְמוּת אָבִיו, כְּדֵי שֶׁיָּעִידוּ הַכֹּל שֶׁהוּא בְנוֹ שֶׁל אַבְרָהָם. מִנַּיִן? מִמַּה שֶּׁקָּרְאוּ בְּעִנְיַן אֵלֶּה תּוֹלְדֹת יִצְחָק בֶּן אַבְרָהָם. מִמַּשְׁמַע שֶׁהוּא אוֹמֵר, יִצְחָק בֶּן אַבְרָהָם, אֵינִי יוֹדֵעַ שֶׁאַבְרָהָם הוֹלִיד אֶת יִצְחָק. וּמַה תַּלְמוּד לוֹמַר? אַבְרָהָם הוֹלִיד אֶת יִצְחָק. שֶׁכָּל הָרוֹאֶה אַבְרָהָם, הָיָה אוֹמֵר בְּוַדַּאי שֶׁאַבְרָהָם הוֹלִיד אֶת יִצְחָק. מִמַּה שֶּׁהָיָה קְלַסְתֵּר פְּנֵיהֶן דּוֹמִין זֶה לָזֶה. לְכָךְ נֶאֱמַר: אַבְרָהָם הוֹלִיד אֶת יִצְחָק.

Come and observe the importance of peace: Between the time that Sarah left the control of Pharaoh and when she came under the authority of Abimelech, Isaac was conceived. Whereupon people asserted: “It is hardly likely that this centenarian could father a son, she must have conceived either from Pharaoh or Abimelech.” In fact, Abraham also had some misgivings. What did the Holy One, blessed be He, do? He ordered the angel responsible for the formation of embryos to fashion this embryo in the exact likeness of his father, so that everyone would be forced to acknowledge that he was Abraham’s son. We know that this was so from the verse These are the generations of Isaac, Abraham’s son: Abraham begot Isaac (Gen. 25:19). Since the verse states Isaac, Abraham’s son, could we not know from those words that Abraham begot Isaac? Why then does Scripture add the words Abraham begot Isaac? Because everyone who looked at Abraham would exclaim: “Without doubt Abraham begot Isaac, since their countenances are so much alike.” Hence Scripture says: Abraham begot Isaac.