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Vayishlach Roundup

Vayishlach Roundup

Vayishlach-And He Sent

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Jacob is finally back in the Holy Land. He had run away because of Esau, who was angry at him for taking the firstborn blessings from their father Isaac. Jacob wants to make sure Esau is no longer angry, so he sends messengers to him with a message of peace, but the messengers come back saying that Esau is coming towards Jacob with an army of four hundred men. Jacob is worried. He does three things in preparation for his meeting with Esau: he prepares for war, he prays to G‑d, and he sends Esau hundreds and hundreds of cattle and sheep as a gift.

That night Jacob helps his family cross the Yabbok river. After the last child and animal has crossed, Jacob stays behind. There he meets a man who our Sages teach is an angel that represents Esau. Jacob and the angel fight all night long until dawn. The angel is able to hurt Jacob’s hip but Jacob wins the battle, and the angel blesses him and gives him a new name, Israel, which means “he who wins over the divine” (meaning the angel).

In the morning when Jacob and Esau finally meet, Esau hugs and kisses Jacob and they cry together. Esau thanks Jacob for his gift and says he doesn’t really need it, but Jacob insists that he keep it. Esau then invites Jacob to travel with him to Seir where he lives, but Jacob tells him that it takes a long time to travel with the women, children and all the animals and that he’ll come at a later date. Jacob does not end up going to Seir. He travels slowly and moves to different places such as Sukkot and near Shechem.

The prince of Shechem, whose name is also Shechem, kidnaps Dina, Jacob's daughter. Jacob's sons Shimon and Levi are very upset. They convince all the men of Shechem to circumcize themselves and then kill them all. Jacob is not happy with their actions.

Jacob gets a message that his mother’s nurse, Deborah, has passed away, and our sages explain that this is a secret way of telling Jacob that his mother, Rebecca, has also passed away. G‑d reveals himself to Jacob again and blesses him. Jacob continues his trip to his father’s home in Hebron and on the way a happy and a sad thing happen: Rachel gives birth to a second son whom she calls Ben Oni and Jacob renames Benjamin, but shortly afterwards Rachel passes away and is buried there in a place called Beit Lechem. Jacob builds a monument on Rachel’s resting place which still stands to this very day.

Jacob finally arrives home to Hebron. Shortly after that, his father Isaac passes away, at 180 years old. This week’s parshah ends with a list of Esau’s wives, children and grandchildren.

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Jasmine home December 1, 2014

I love this story. It really helps me and gets me ready for the week Reply

Anonymous toronto, canada December 8, 2011

very useful and clear great for shabbos morning youth program Reply

leah london, england November 18, 2010

js i love this it really helps me for school thanks Reply

Anonymous December 9, 2008

very helpful this family parsha is a great summary, not too short and not not too long. Also, the pictures are wonderful. Thank you. Reply

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