Rivka had a difficult pregnancy and was often pained. One particular time, she lamented:
וַיִּתְרֹצְצוּ הַבָּנִים, בְּקִרְבָּהּ, וַתֹּאמֶר אִם-כֵּן, לָמָּה זֶּה אָנֹכִי; וַתֵּלֶךְ, לִדְרֹשׁ אֶת-ה.
Chazal understand that each time she walked past a holy place, one child would agitate, and each time she walked past a place of idolatry, the other would agitate.
Not yet knowing it was twins, she could not understand what she was experiencing – לָמָּה זֶּה אָנֹכִי – (Literally) “Why is this happening to me?”.
She inquired her about her condition, and learned she was expecting twins, calming her:
וַתֵּלֶךְ, לִדְרֹשׁ אֶת-ה וַיֹּאמֶר ה לָהּ, שְׁנֵי גֹיִים בְּבִטְנך – She went to a prophet, and he said to her, “There are two nations within you”.
But if what bothered her was the children moving around, how does the new information that she was expecting twins address the issue?
R’ Chaim Brown suggests a fascinating resolution. When Moshe reviews the Torah in his final speech to the people, he tells them:
רְאֵה אָנֹכִי נֹתֵן לִפְנֵיכֶם הַיּוֹם בְּרָכָה וּקְלָלָֽה – See how I place before you a blessing and a curse… Good and Evil. (11:26)
The obvious meaning is that there is a choice between two archetypes: good and evil, and we are implored to choose wisely.
But there is a different implication. אָנֹכִי means the first person, the self, “I”. What kind of אָנֹכִי do we each wish to be?
Tying this to Rivka’s problem, R’ Brown frames her problem and resolution in a different light:
לָמָּה זֶּה אָנֹכִי – where is the אָנֹכִי in this child? Does he want to go to holy places, or serve idols? This child has no אָנֹכִי – he is confused! And the prophet replied to her:
שְׁנֵי גֹיִים בְּבִטְנֵך – It is not one confused child, there are two distinct אָנֹכִי archetypes. With this, she was comforted. In a sense, this is the choice laid before us each and every day. With each choice and action, we get to choose to align closer with one way or another. Let’s make it count.