Parashat Vayishlach: Genesis 32:4 to 36:43

Week of December 1, 2023

The name of our Torah portion means “he sent,” which is the story of Jacob sending men to scout the position of his brother Esau, whom he hasn’t seen in twenty-two years! This is a most emotional and dramatic Torah sedrah, which ultimately leads to the encounter between the two brothers, and later, the transformation of Jacob’s being into a new soul. Jacob and Esau meet peacefully, and Jacob falls on his brother’s neck, perhaps kissing him. Some commentators remarked that the kiss was more like a bite! Afterwards, they go their separate ways.

Before this famous encounter, Jacob dreams and enters the river Jabbok, where he wrestles with an angelic being, and finally survives. Thus Jacob’s name is changed to Israel, meaning the “one who struggles with God and prevails.” The latter story in our Torah portion is about the daughter Dinah, and all of her travails.

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