• Vayishlach

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    Vayishlach ~ 5772 ~ וישלח
    Yakov, en route to Canaan, sends messengers to Aisav with a special greeting of appeasement. They return and inform Yakov that Aisav is on his way to meet Yakov with 400 men. Yakov prepares for a possible battle. Yakov sends three waves of servants bearing gifts for Aisav and then moves his camp across the Yabbok River. Yakov remains behind whereupon he is attacked and wrestles all night with an unnamed adversary. Upon first light, the “stranger” blesses Jacob by changing his name to “Yisrael”.

    Yakov limps due to an injury incurred that night while wrestling with the angel. Upon meeting Aisav, Yakov completely subjugates himself to his elder brother, who receives Yakov graciously. Yakov introduces his family to Aisav. At first, Aisav refuses Yakov’s gifts, but reluctantly accepts them. Aisav offers to travel with Yakov or at least to leave behind an escort, but Yakov refuses. Traveling on the Shechem, Yakov at last feels at ease and settles down to an apparent pastoral lifestyle.

    Dina, the daughter of Jacob, is seduced by the Prince of Shechem. Desirous of a tribal merger and to facilitate peace, the entire male population agrees to be circumcised. Shimeon and Levi execute the entire male population on the third day after the circumcision. Yakov, fearful of antagonizing the gentile tribes, rebukes the brothers for their revenge. The family of Yakov purge themselves of all idolatrous things and journey to the place G-d first appeared to Yakov; there G-d blesses Yakov/Israel again. Rachel dies giving birth to Binyamin. Reuben dishonors his father by interfering with the father’s relationship with his concubine (apparently without any ramifications). Isaac dies and is buried by both Yakov and Aisav. The generations of Aisav (his descendants) are given in detail. The lineage of Aisav continues as a transcript of successive generations.

    MAFTIR: Genesis 36:40 – 42 ~ page 134
    HAFTARAH: Obadiah 1:1-21 ~ page 135
    Obadiah condemns Edom (the nation descended from Esau) for its bitter hatred towards Israel. The Edomites lull themselves into thinking that they are invulnerable but they will be overthrown by their so called allies and destroyed. They deserve punishment because of “the violence done to thy brother Jacob” and for when Jerusalem fell, they took part in the looting and prevented any fugitives from escaping. On the day of G-d’s judgment, their deeds will recoil on their own heads and a reunited Israel will be restored to its former territory.

    Parsha Study Questions
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    1. Is this the first time traditional ‘prayer’ is found in the Torah (32:9)?
    2. What is the root word of אכפרה – does it mean “appease”? How does this affect the meaning of these events (32:21)?
    3. Why can we eat the Sciatic nerve from Poultry (32:33)?
    4. Is it strange to name a city after the barns one builds for their animals (33:17)?
    5. Most commentators contest the JPS’ translation of “humbled her” (ויענה) –Why?