As the central theme of a Torah portion is indicated by its name, it is understandable that the portion Toldos, meaning offspring, relates to the bearing of children. In a spiritual sense, the theme of the portion is spiritual parenthood, drawing Jews closer to Judaism, in line with the saying:1 “Whoever teaches his friend’s son Torah is considered as if he had borne him.”

This is also alluded to by Rashi in his commentary on the opening words of the portion:2 “These are the children of Yitzchak,” upon which he comments: “Ya’akov and Esav, who are discussed in the portion.”

This teaches us that Yitzchak’s progeny is not limited to those on the level of Ya’akov; it is necessary to “adopt” even those like the wicked Esav by drawing them closer to Torah and mitzvos , so that they too become Yitzchak’s rightful spiritual progeny.

We must, however, understand how this bearing of spiritual children — toldos — relates to Yitzchak, since his manner of service (unlike that of his father Avraham) did not entail leaving his quarters to involve himself with others — his main service was more inwardly directed.

How then did Yitzchak, who was prohibited by G‑d from leaving Eretz Yisrael , generate spiritual offspring, which could seemingly only come about by involving himself with those on the “outside” and bringing them “in”?

While Yitzchak’s manner of service did not involve traveling from place to place and making G‑d’s Name known, his inward manner of spiritual service was so powerful that it attracted people to him, just as a gigantic torch attracts sparks.3

This is explained at length in this portion: When there was a hunger in the land, Yitzchak thought he should descend to Egypt as his father had — knowing that, with this descent, he could continue his father’s outreach work.

G‑d, however, told him that he should remain in the land. For Yitzchak’s manner of service would differ from his father’s; living a holy life while he remained in the land, G‑d’s Name would become known — as a matter of course — to others as well.

This is also gleaned from the following tale related in this portion: After Yitzchak built an altar and called out G‑d’s Name, his former enemy, Avimelech, declared: “We have beheld how G‑d is with you” — and changed his behavior for the better.

The reason for the Torah portion’s name is now clear: Toldos emphasizes that the children are similar to their father.4 Yitzchak remained on his lofty level and drew others to him, that they should exist on this lofty level as well.

Herein lies a lesson for us all. There are those whose main purpose in life is to travel in order to “bear children” for G‑d and his Torah. Nonetheless, these individuals must sometimes adopt a Yitzchak-like manner and become wholly absorbed in contemplative Torah study.

This does not mean that, by doing so, they are forsaking their mission. On the contrary, this inward journey is a crucial part of their overall service. For, by elevating themselves in this manner, their effect upon others becomes all the stronger.

The same is true regarding those who spend almost all their time wrapped up in Torah study and prayer. They must go out from time to time and bring other Jews closer to Judaism, permeating their regular Torah study and prayer with the awareness that they are laboring not only for their own benefit, but also for the benefit of others.

Based on Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXV, pp. 125-130