Toldot: False-Self


Tamar Pelleg

Since then, a lot of water has flowed in the river of my life. Today, apart from my everyday writing in my “Morning  Diary”, I write regularly on topics related to the Hebrew Bible’s portion of the week, from a psycho-spiritual perspective and on topics  related to relationships that I post on  Facebook, blog, digital story collections and recently I am engaged in writing a  book and my  dream begins to come true.


He was not able stand up for himself and refuse her request. How could he refuse a mother who loves him so much?

If only she knew how much he longed to receive the blessing from his blind father, who all these years did not notice him, did not actually see him, did not hug him, did not recognize his skills, and saw only his brother.

How could she who loved him so much not realize that he was so hungry for recognition from his father? Even a half-gaze, a hint of a hug, would make him happy. And he wanted to receive this blessing in his own right.

And what did she ask of him?

To continue to play the game of being invisible to his eyes. Appear and receive a blessing under disguise.

He felt powerless in the face of her power and his words stuck deep in his throat and refused to come out.

Who will he remain loyal to? To himself and to what his heart desires – or to the mother?

He was too young and too weak to make the right choice.

Being distressed, he tried to dissuade her by making logical arguments:

And Jacob said unto Rebekah his mother, but my brother Esau is a hairy man, and I a smooth-skinned man. Perhaps my father will touch me, and I will be deceiving in his eyes; And I will bring a curse upon me, and no blessing. (Genesis 27:11)

Perhaps my father will touch me?   If only my father would touch me?

I wish he would recognize me in some way – the thought crossed his mind.

But his mother Rebecca had a solution for everything. So, she dressed him in Esau’s clothes, heavy with the smell of the field … to deceive the senses of the blind father.


His mind was in a fog. A sour taste rose in his mouth.

He surrendered to her plan and doubly betrayal himself:

Once in front of his mother – when he could not resist her.  How could he risk losing her love, the only one who loved him, and thus to be left completely alone in the world?

And once in front of his father — disguised as his brother Esau.

When he approached his father with the delicious food she had cooked, he did not even try to disguise his voice.

Maybe he will recognize me?

His body trembled with excitement when his father asked him to come closer to feel him. He so longed for his touch.

”    The voice is the voice of Jacob and the hands by Esau,” his father uttered.

Did he know?

The curse of this betrayal accompanied him for many years.

And he paid the full price for it.

.  .   .

And what can we as adults and parents learn from this?

The situation of a young child — unable to maintain loyalty to himself, to his truth, because he feels so dependent on the love of his parents and is afraid to disobey them, and therefore acts in a survivable mode and betrays his truth —   is sadly familiar.

In professional terms this is called “False Self”, a concept claimed by the psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott:

The fear is that the child will learn this survival pattern and continue to betray himself even when he grows up. That he imprisoned himself in the pattern of wanting to please those he loves or thinks he depends on their love for him, at the expense of being loyal to his truth.

How important it is to help our children identify what their independent truth is — and avoid as much as possible putting them in a conflict of loyalties.

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