Dear Friend,

As this week’s Torah portion unfolds, all the signs point towards a disastrous confrontation. After twenty years in Charan, Jacob returned to the Holy Land to find a still-furious Esau approaching along with four hundred men. Fearing for himself and his family, Jacob prayed to G‑d, sent reconciliatory presents to Esau, and prepared for battle.

The crucial moment arrived. Jacob and Esau saw each other for the first time in decades, and Esau ran toward Jacob, embraced him and kissed him.

The Hebrew word vayishakeihu (“and he kissed him”) is topped with small dots in the Torah. According to one view, this is to highlight the anomaly of Esau’s behavior. Despite his resentment, at the moment of truth Esau’s compassion was aroused, and he kissed Jacob wholeheartedly.

This story makes me feel hopeful, when conflict fills the news and the gossip mill, for what unites us is so much stronger than what pulls us apart. On all levels, personal, communal and global, we can—and we must—overcome our differences and achieve true peace.

Take the first step. Reach out in friendship, and bring the world just a little closer to the beautiful place it can be.

Rochel Chein,
Responder for Ask the Rabbi @

P.S.: Thank you to everyone who provided input last week when we asked you whether you wanted us to feature the Parshah in a Nutshell or Parshah in Depth in the magazine. Your overwhelming response was in favor of Parshah in Depth, so that’s what we’ll feature. Please continue to share your feedback. We really appreciate it!