Three parshiot contain numerous details about Avraham. We learn about his leaving his parents' home, his travelling to Egypt & Gerara among other places, the problems with Hagar and Yishma'el, binding Isaac to the alter, and other stories.

Seven parshiot mention Ya'akov from Toldot (story of his getting the blessing instead of Esav), his travails with Lavan in Vayetze, His dealing with Esav in Vayishlach, there's a bit of a "break" from Vayeshev through Miketz as the focus is mainly on Yosef, but things continue in Vayigash when he comes down to Egypt and his blessings to his children and burial in Vayechi.

By comparison, little is said about Yitzchak. We read about his birth and akeida in Vayeira, he gets married to Rivkah in Chayei Sarah (very little mentioning of him, in this parsha). Toldot seems to be the main parsha were we seem most of his activity, then, near the end of the parsha, we see he is about to die. There's very little mentioned about him in comparsion to his father and his son.

Why does the Torah spend little time talking about him? Was there so little that occurred to him by comparison?

Feel free to improve the tagging. Offhand, I didn't think of including all the various parshiot, as I'm not really asking about something specific to any parsha.

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    Might I add that although Yitzchak is mentioned, most of his stories are in terms of others; for instance, although Yitzchak had a major role in the Akeidah, the story is told such that Avraham is the main character of the story; likewise, by the Berachos, Yaakov is the main character. So the only story in which Yitzchak is the main character is when he goes to Gerar, and arguably the birth of Yaakov and Esav.
    – DonielF
    Nov 15, 2017 at 0:19
  • Are you interested in chidushim, or only sourced answers?
    – user6591
    Feb 13, 2018 at 2:17
  • @user6591 I'd like to hear your chiddush
    – SAH
    Aug 8, 2018 at 6:50
  • @SAH Sorry I kept forgetting to respond to you. Unfortunately I'm not going to write up my answer until the OP gives the ok for chidushim as the hassle dealing with the Mi Yodeya 'community' about sourcing answers isn't worth it.
    – user6591
    Aug 27, 2018 at 13:47
  • @user6591 Sourced answers. Nothing to do with you, personally, but I can usually research sourced answers, somewhere. I can't do that with something that's unsourced. You can chat SAH, and share the chiddush there.
    – DanF
    Aug 27, 2018 at 16:27

2 Answers 2


R' Yaakov Kaminetzky points this out in his first entry on Parshas Toldos. He also points out that in the Rambam's brief historical description of the impact of the Avos (Hil. Avodas Kochavim 1:3) Yitzchok gets pretty short shrift, with a one-line mention about how he taught his son Yaakov.

It's worth seeing inside, but R' Yaakov's basic approach is that each of the Avos had their approach to relating to Hashem, which is what they really conveyed to others. Avraham conveyed to others that Hashem was the Source and Essence of חסד. Yaakov established the search for truth and the G-d of truth.

Yitzchak's approach, however, was the approach of justice and judgement, and preached a life of self-discipline and exactitude in lining up with what Hashem wants from a person, with no room for compromise. This approach was not as popular, as one might imagine, by the general masses, and therefore Yitzchak was not as involved in the world as the other Avos, and his only disciple was his son Yaakov.

  • Hmm ... his grandson lives near me. I should ask him about this one.
    – DanF
    Feb 13, 2018 at 16:10

The Avos all had different purposes & missions based on their unique personalities. Avraham Avinu first discovered the true path & being the epitome of Chesed used his social skills to teach his Torah to every soul he interacted with. Yitzchak on the other hand was a man of great Gevurah & as we see with his compliance with the Akeida was the greatest & most loyal Talmid. He spent much of his time meditating in the field absorbing his fathers teachings & using his inner strength to completely internalize it. Yaakov perfected the Chesed - Gevurah approach into Tiferes which is why his life’s work was turning this “father & son shop” into a global phenomenon through the Shevatim. While Avraham & Yaakov’s approaches afforded them many opportunities to interact with the outside world & the more amazing great Tzadikim interact with the outside world the more amazing great stories & lessons can be gleaned from their life, hence their “longer screen time”. Yitzchak worked mainly introspectively on perfecting his Fathers complex Torah & paving the path for Yaakov to teach a more comprehensive & complete ideology to his 12 sons & ultimately to us all. Since the purpose of Berashis is, in large part, maaseh avos siman l'banim the torah focuses on the stories which teach us the most. We can speculate that more can be learned from the interpersonal interactions than quiet introspection.

  • Welcome to Mi Yodeya. While the description of the fathers that you indicated are rather well-known, I don't completely follow how this information answers the question. By comparison, Iyov was also very introspective, yet we have an entire book about what he thought and said.
    – DanF
    Nov 14, 2017 at 15:03
  • In addition to DanF’s comments, where are your sources for all of this?
    – DonielF
    Nov 15, 2017 at 0:20

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