Parshat Vayishlach


(Haftara: Hoshea 11:7-12:13)

  1. [32:25] “And Ya’akov remained alone”. Rashi says that Ya’akov remained alone because he forgot some jars and went back for them. Ya’akov is considered in many ways to be the greatest of the 3 fathers. Why is a tzaddik so concerned with physical property?


  1. [32:29] “And he said, ‘Your name will no longer be Ya’akov, but rather Yisrael, because you have wrestled with God (or with powers)…” The Jewish people are called Yisrael. There are many stories about our forefathers. Why do we, as a nation, have a name that recalls this event?
  1. [33:4] “And Esav ran toward him and hugged him and kissed him and…cried.” Esav seems totally loving to Ya’akov. If so, why did he come with 400 men? Did he mean to do Ya’akov harm and did he then change his mind? Why did he change his mind? Or did he have some other motivation in bringing the men?
  1. [33:10] “I saw your face like seeing the face of God, and you liked me.” What caused Ya’akov to change his approach to Esav to the point where he could say this?


  1. [33:17] “…and he built a house, and for his cattle, he made booths. Therefore he named the place “Booths”.” This pasuk makes it seem as if Ya’akov’s cattle were more important to him than his own family. Why did Ya’akov name his new home after the domicile of his cattle?


[33:18] “And Ya’akov arrived at the city of Shchem shalem (whole or perfected)”

After Ya’akov’s struggle with the angel, and with Esav and his other struggles, he achieved wholeness. A person with proper motivations is strengthened by his trials and struggles. Overcoming his difficulties is what brings about his spiritual development.

–R. Yehudah Aryeh Leib of Ger, the Sfas Emes, Poland, 1847-1905.

This study page is dedicated to the memory of Sarah Bella bat Yitzchak Kummer, Chaim

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