Chapter 33

1Looking up, Yaakov saw Esau coming, accompanied by four hundred men. He divided the children among Leah, Rachel, and the two maids,

אוַיִּשָּׂא יַעֲקֹב עֵינָיו וַיַּרְא וְהִנֵּה עֵשָׂו בָּא וְעִמּוֹ אַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת אִישׁ וַיַּחַץ אֶת־הַיְלָדִים עַל־לֵאָה וְעַל־רָחֵל וְעַל שְׁתֵּי הַשְּׁפָחוֹת׃

2putting the maids and their children first, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Yosef last.

בוַיָּשֶׂם אֶת־הַשְּׁפָחוֹת וְאֶת־יַלְדֵיהֶן רִאשֹׁנָה וְאֶת־לֵאָה וִילָדֶיהָ אַחֲרֹנִים וְאֶת־רָחֵל וְאֶת־יוֹסֵף אַחֲרֹנִים׃

3He himself went on ahead and bowed low to the ground seven times until he was near his brother.

גוְהוּא עָבַר לִפְנֵיהֶם וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ אַרְצָה שֶׁבַע פְּעָמִים עַד־גִּשְׁתּוֹ עַד־אָחִיו׃

4Esau ran to greet him. He embraced him and, falling on his neck, he kissed him; and they wept.

דוַיָּרָץ עֵשָׂו לִקְרָאתוֹ וַיְחַבְּקֵהוּ וַיִּפֹּל עַל־צַוָּארָו וַיִּשָּׁקֵהוּ וַיִּבְכּוּ׃

5Looking about, he saw the women and the children. “Who,” he asked, “are these with you?” He answered, “The children with whom Hashem has favored your servant.”

הוַיִּשָּׂא אֶת־עֵינָיו וַיַּרְא אֶת־הַנָּשִׁים וְאֶת־הַיְלָדִים וַיֹּאמֶר מִי־אֵלֶּה לָּךְ וַיֹּאמַר הַיְלָדִים אֲשֶׁר־חָנַן אֱלֹהִים אֶת־עַבְדֶּךָ׃

6Then the maids, with their children, came forward and bowed low;

ווַתִּגַּשְׁןָ הַשְּׁפָחוֹת הֵנָּה וְיַלְדֵיהֶן וַתִּשְׁתַּחֲוֶיןָ׃

7next Leah, with her children, came forward and bowed low; and last, Yosef and Rachel came forward and bowed low;

זוַתִּגַּשׁ גַּם־לֵאָה וִילָדֶיהָ וַיִּשְׁתַּחֲווּ וְאַחַר נִגַּשׁ יוֹסֵף וְרָחֵל וַיִּשְׁתַּחֲווּ׃

8And he asked, “What do you mean by all this company which I have met?” He answered, “To gain my lord's favor.”

חוַיֹּאמֶר מִי לְךָ כָּל־הַמַּחֲנֶה הַזֶּה אֲשֶׁר פָּגָשְׁתִּי וַיֹּאמֶר לִמְצֹא־חֵן בְּעֵינֵי אֲדֹנִי׃

9Esau said, “I have enough, my brother; let what you have remain yours.”

טוַיֹּאמֶר עֵשָׂו יֶשׁ־לִי רָב אָחִי יְהִי לְךָ אֲשֶׁר־לָךְ׃

10But Yaakov said, “No, I pray you; if you would do me this favor, accept from me this gift; for to see your face is like seeing the face of Hashem, and you have received me favorably.

יוַיֹּאמֶר יַעֲקֹב אַל־נָא אִם־נָא מָצָאתִי חֵן בְּעֵינֶיךָ וְלָקַחְתָּ מִנְחָתִי מִיָּדִי כִּי עַל־כֵּן רָאִיתִי פָנֶיךָ כִּרְאֹת פְּנֵי אֱלֹהִים וַתִּרְצֵנִי׃

11Please accept my present which has been brought to you, for Hashem has favored me and I have plenty.” And when he urged him, he accepted.

יאקַח־נָא אֶת־בִּרְכָתִי אֲשֶׁר הֻבָאת לָךְ כִּי־חַנַּנִי אֱלֹהִים וְכִי יֶשׁ־לִי־כֹל וַיִּפְצַר־בּוֹ וַיִּקָּח׃

12And [Esau] said, “Let us start on our journey, and I will proceed at your pace.”

יבוַיֹּאמֶר נִסְעָה וְנֵלֵכָה וְאֵלְכָה לְנֶגְדֶּךָ׃

13But he said to him, “My lord knows that the children are frail and that the flocks and herds, which are nursing, are a care to me; if they are driven hard a single day, all the flocks will die.

יגוַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו אֲדֹנִי יֹדֵעַ כִּי־הַיְלָדִים רַכִּים וְהַצֹּאן וְהַבָּקָר עָלוֹת עָלָי וּדְפָקוּם יוֹם אֶחָד וָמֵתוּ כָּל־הַצֹּאן׃

14Let my lord go on ahead of his servant, while I travel slowly, at the pace of the cattle before me and at the pace of the children, until I come to my lord in Seir.”

ידיַעֲבָר־נָא אֲדֹנִי לִפְנֵי עַבְדּוֹ וַאֲנִי אֶתְנָהֲלָה לְאִטִּי לְרֶגֶל הַמְּלָאכָה אֲשֶׁר־לְפָנַי וּלְרֶגֶל הַיְלָדִים עַד אֲשֶׁר־אָבֹא אֶל־אֲדֹנִי שֵׂעִירָה׃

15Then Esau said, “Let me assign to you some of the men who are with me.” But he said, “Oh no, my lord is too kind to me!”

טווַיֹּאמֶר עֵשָׂו אַצִּיגָה־נָּא עִמְּךָ מִן־הָעָם אֲשֶׁר אִתִּי וַיֹּאמֶר לָמָּה זֶּה אֶמְצָא־חֵן בְּעֵינֵי אֲדֹנִי׃

16So Esau started back that day on his way to Seir.

טזוַיָּשָׁב בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא עֵשָׂו לְדַרְכּוֹ שֵׂעִירָה׃

17But Yaakov journeyed on to Succoth, and built a house for himself and made stalls for his cattle; that is why the place was called Succoth.

יזוְיַעֲקֹב נָסַע סֻכֹּתָה וַיִּבֶן לוֹ בָּיִת וּלְמִקְנֵהוּ עָשָׂה סֻכֹּת עַל־כֵּן קָרָא שֵׁם־הַמָּקוֹם סֻכּוֹת׃

18Yaakov arrived safe in the city of Shechem which is in the land of Canaan—having come thus from Paddan-aram—and he encamped before the city.

יחוַיָּבֹא יַעֲקֹב שָׁלֵם עִיר שְׁכֶם אֲשֶׁר בְּאֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן בְּבֹאוֹ מִפַּדַּן אֲרָם וַיִּחַן אֶת־פְּנֵי הָעִיר׃

19The parcel of land where he pitched his tent he purchased from the children of Hamor, Shechem's father, for a hundred kesitah.

va-YI-ken et khel-KAT ha-sa-DEH a-SHER na-tah SHAM a-ha-LO mi-YAD b'-nay kha-MOR a-VEE sh'-KHEM b'-may-AH k'-see-TAH

יטוַיִּקֶן אֶת־חֶלְקַת הַשָּׂדֶה אֲשֶׁר נָטָה־שָׁם אָהֳלוֹ מִיַּד בְּנֵי־חֲמוֹר אֲבִי שְׁכֶם בְּמֵאָה קְשִׂיטָה׃

 33:19   The parcel of land where he pitched his tent

View of the landscape of Shechem

After escaping unscathed from Esau’s clutches, Yaakov enters Canaan and purchases the land he has chosen to settle. This is a message for all of eternity. To ensure survival amidst countless enemies, the Children of Israel must build up their only true safe haven, the Land of Israel. Like his grandfather Avraham, Yaakov then builds an altar to Hashem. Rav Ovadya Seforno, a sixteenth century Italian commentator, points out that after spending time in exile, Yaakov appreciates that service of Hashem is most fitting in Eretz Yisrael, and he immediately makes every possible effort to worship the one true God of Israel there.

20He set up a mizbayach there, and called it El-elohe-yisrael.

כוַיַּצֶּב־שָׁם מִזְבֵּחַ וַיִּקְרָא־לוֹ אֵל אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃