Parashat Toldot: Prayer in the Parashah

Prayer in the Parashah תְּפִלָּה

We are taught (Talmud Bavli Berakhot 40b) that every time we say a בְּרָכָה (berakhah, blessing), it has to include God’s most special name. This name is so special that we almost never write it out, and we definitely never say it out loud! Here it is, spelled out with dashes between the letters to create breaks:
י - ה - ו - ה
What could this name mean? Look at the word - it has the letters yud, heh, and vav. These can be combined into: הָיָה (hayah, was), הוֹוֶה (hoveh, is), or יִהְיֶה (yihyeh, will be). Maybe it is a name that means: God always was, is, and will be.
But there is another possible meaning, found in this week’s parashah. God says to Yitzhak:
גּוּר בָּאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת וְאֶהְיֶה עִמְּךָ וַאֲבָרְכֶךָּ…
Dwell in this land, and ehyeh imkha (I will be with you), and I will bless you…
See the bolded words? God later says this exact same phrase to Yaakov (Bereishit 31:3), to Moshe (Shemot 3:12), and to Yehoshua (Yehoshua 1:5). In fact, in Tanakh, the word ehyeh (I will be) is only ever said by God, and it is almost always followed by imkha or imakh (with you).
  • Are there times that you find it easy to feel God’s presence with you? Are there times it’s more difficult?
Next time you say a berakhah or you see God’s special name in a siddur, try thinking to yourself the words from our parashah: ehyeh imkha. Can these words help you?