(Genesis-32:3-36:43)

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

  1. [32:12] “Save me, please from the hand of Esav, from the hand of my brother…” Why is there a repetition here? The hand of Esav is the hand of his brother. Rashi explains that Esav is not acting like a brother. Rabbenu Bechaya explains that Ya’akov means, “Save me in the present and also for future generations”. Which of these is a better explanation? Is there a simpler explanation?
  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. [32:27] “I will not let you go until you bless me.” Some explain that the angel represents the negative aspects of Ya’akov’s personality. Ya’akov won the fight with the angel, but he was wounded in the thigh. What might this mean on a spiritual-psychological level?
  1. [32:28] “Your name will no longer be called Ya’akov, but rather Yisrael, because you wrestled with God and with people and you won.” The Jewish people are called “Yisrael”. How do we wrestle with God and with people?
  1. [32:32] “Therefore the people of Israel do not eat the “gid hanasheh” which is in the thigh until the present day…” Like matzah on Pesach, this is supposed to remind us of this historical event. What are we supposed to learn from the fact that Ya’akov wrestled with the angel and won?

Commentary

[32:13] “…he took from that which came to his hand as a gift for Esav…”

When a person takes the first thing that comes to his hand, he is giving a gift to Esav. When a person doesn’t pay attention to his actions, but rather just does the first thing that comes to mind, then he is strengthening  the qualities of  uncontrolled appetite and mental and emotional sloppiness in himself and in the world.

–based on R. Menachem Mendel of Kotzk, the Kotzker Rebbe (17871859), Poland.

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