The haftarah1 for Toldot is the beginning of book of Malachi. It is a prophecy of rebuke to the Jewish people. However, when you take a closer look, you find the deep love and connection we have with G‑d.

The connection to our parshah is that the parshah speaks of the differences and struggles between Jacob and Esau, yet we can see that Jacob is G‑d’s chosen one. This is alluded to in our haftarah.

The haftarah begins with G‑d’s words to the Jewish people. “I have loved you, says G‑d, and if you ask, ‘How have You shown Your love for us?’ This is G‑d’s response: ‘Was not Esau a brother to Jacob? Yet I loved Jacob. And I hated Esau . . . ’ ”2

What is the meaning of these verses? What is this love G‑d is referring to? Would we truly be brazen enough to ask: “How have You shown Your love for us?” Also, first G‑d said we are equals (“Was not Esau a brother to Jacob?”), then He says that He loves us and hates them. What is the deeper meaning? If He loves us so much, why is He rebuking us? And finally, what is G‑d’s wish for us?

Malachi prophesied at the beginning of the Second Temple era, during which we were mostly under the rule of foreign powers. It is also the last book of the Tanach. So it stands to reason that Malachi is talking to us in the exile.

When G‑d says, “I have loved you,” it is referring to a time when His love to us was clearly visible: The Exodus from Egypt, the giving of the Torah, giving us the beautiful and bountiful Holy Land and the First Temple era, when we were privy to open miracles. But now, in the darkness of the exile, we ask: “How have You shown Your love for us?” We don’t see it openly.

This is also a message to us. We have to ask, if not demand, G‑d’s open and revealed love, that He send Moshiach and put an end to this dark exile. It is not out of brazenness, but rather, because it is mitzvah to ask G‑d for our needs, and what greater need do we have? Even the Men of the Great Assembly, who also lived at the beginning of the Second Temple era, saw it this way. We see how they composed the Amidah prayer, full of requests for Moshiach.3

Now G‑d says, “Was not Esau a brother to Jacob? Yet I loved Jacob. And I hated Esau . . . ” He is saying that He chose to love us from the beginning.4 Like we say in the holiday prayers: “You have chosen us from all the nations, You loved us and You wanted us.5

There are two ways to understand choice.

When two things are similar but one has something about it that you like more, you choose the one that you like more. This is not true choice because it is not your will that moves you to choose one over the other. Rather, it is an intellectual decision, as one is more appealing.

Then there is true choice. When two things are exactly the same, and you choose one over the other, it is your will, your essence, that is choosing, which is beyond your intellect.

G‑d is telling us how he chose us. From His essential perspective, Esau and Jacob are brothers; they are the same, everything is equal. But He chose to love us. His will, His Essence chose us, and we are therefore one with His Essence, one with G‑d.6

Now the rebuke begins to make sense. You only rebuke someone you care about because when you care about someone, how they act matters to you.

In our case, G‑d is saying, “I chose you over Esau, and you are therefore special—you are one with Me. How then could you act like Esau, unabashed, calloused and deceptive?

G‑d loves us and expects more from us because we are His Essence.

This brings us to the end of the haftarah, where G‑d tells us how He wants us to be. Speaking to the priests (and we are all “a kingdom of priests”),7 He says, “For the lips of the priest must guard knowledge; they will seek instruction from his mouth, because he is an angel of the L‑rd of Hosts.”8

G‑d wants us to be like angels. But if we never met an angel, how should we know how to act like one? Rather this refers to the classic attributes of a Jew. A Jew is bashful, has compassion and does kindness. G‑d is saying, “Be a Yid!”

May G‑d fulfill our deepest desire and show us His open love once again, with the coming of Moshiach. The time has come.