The Portion of Vayishlach

Nov 22, 2015

Photo credit: Yehoshua Halevi

וַיִּשְׁלַח יַעֲקֹב מַלְאָכִים לְפָנָיו אֶל־עֵשָׂו אָחִיו אַרְצָה שֵׂעִיר שְׂדֵה אֱדוֹם׃

Yaakov sent messengers ahead to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom,

Genesis 32:4

אַלּוּף מַגְדִּיאֵל אַלּוּף עִירָם אֵלֶּה אַלּוּפֵי אֱדוֹם לְמֹשְׁבֹתָם בְּאֶרֶץ אֲחֻזָּתָם הוּא עֵשָׂו אֲבִי אֱדוֹם׃

Magdiel, and Iram. Those are the clans of Edom—that is, of Esau, father of the Edomites—by their settlements in the land which they hold.

Genesis 36:43

In this week’s portion, Jacob prepares to face his brother after many years apart, cognizant of Esau’s vow to destroy him one day. He readies his camp and prays, and sends gifts to appease his brother. Before the encounter, Jacob struggles with an angel who blesses him and gives him a new name. When Jacob finally meets up with Esau, the reunion is more positive than he had hoped.

 

Jacob settles in the land of his fathers, but tragedy mars the experience, as his daughter Dinah is raped in Shechem. His sons avenge her violation, much to their father’s consternation.

 

Ultimately, Jacob returns to his father before Isaac’s death. The portion closes with an accounting of Esau’s family tree.

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