Parshat Vayishlach

(Genesis-32:3-36:43)

(Haftara: Ovadiah 1:1-3:21)

  1. [32:21] “…I will appease him with the present that goes before me…” Ya’akov had seriously hurt Esav, and Esav had wanted to kill him. Ya’akov thought that by giving Esav a generous gift, Esav would forgive him. It would seem that if Esav was ready to forgive Ya’akov, then a gift is unnecessary, and if Esav is not ready to forgive, then a gift is not going to help.  What was Ya’akov thinking in sending this gift to Esav?
  2. [32:27] “…I will not let you go unless you bless me…”  Ya’akov demanded a blessing and the “man” changed Ya’akov’s name to Yisrael.  It seems that if Ya’akov had not demanded a blessing, his name would have remained Ya’akov. The fact that Ya’akov became Yisrael is considered a big spiritual change.  What is the significance of the fact that Ya’akov had to demand the blessing?
  3. [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?
  4. [Ovadiah 1:15] “…as you have done, it shall be done unto you…” The wicked should receive whatever bad they did to others. However, we see that sometimes the wicked prosper.  If God is totally just, then how can the wicked prosper?
  5. [Ovadiah 3:21] “And saviours shall rise up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esav, and the kingdom will be God’s”. It seems that judging the mount of Esav will cause God’s kingdom to be revealed.  The pasuk does not speak of a victory over Esav, but rather of “judging” the mount of Esav. How can this judgment bring God’s kingdom?

Commentary

The great dreams are the foundation of the world…the prophets dream…the poets dream while awake…the great thinkers dream of the perfected world…we all dream….The crudeness of conventional life, which is wholly immersed in materialism, removes the light of the dream from the world…Then the vision of the dream will return and it will become a clear revelation.

–R. A. Y. H. Kuk, 1865-1935, Lithuania and Israel.

This study page is dedicated to the memory of Gad Eliahu ben David and Kochava–Eli Zucker

And to the memory of Sarah Beila Kummer bat Yitzchak and Chana, Chaim Yosef Yechiel ben Eliyahu Kummer and Eliyahu and Margaret Kummer

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