December 5, 2020 – 19 Teves 5781

Parshas VaYishlach

Yaakov Sent Messengers/Angels

Yaakov Meets Eisav

Jewish Press – Dennis Prager

First Pasuk in this Parsha:

Verse 32:4:

וַיִּשְׁלַ֨ח יַעֲקֹ֤ב מַלְאָכִים֙ לְפָנָ֔יו אֶל־עֵשָׂ֖ו אָחִ֑יו אַ֥רְצָה שֵׂעִ֖יר שְׂדֵ֥ה אֱדֽוֹם׃

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

Rashi:                          ( וישלח יעקב מלאכים. מַלְאָכִים מַמָּשׁ (בראשית רבה:

Midrash Rabbah 75:4 – מַלְאָכִים (בראשית לב, ד), אֵלּוּ שְׁלוּחֵי בָּשָׂר וָדָם, רַבָּנָן אָמְרֵי מַלְאָכִים מַמָּשׁ.

What is Rashi telling us that they were actual angels?  There is a disagreement in the Medresh and the plain meaning is messengers.  Why is Rashi taking sides in the Machlokes especially when it really does not add anything.

After giving this much thought I believe the answer is as follows.  Rashi is telling us what Yaakov did to repair his relationship with Eisav.  He did three things:

  1.  He sent   מַלְאָכִים to Eisav. Who were these מַלְאָכִים ?   Either they were actual angels or if they were men they were prominent people.   Yaakov is showing Eisav that I hold you in high esteem and are sending you the best, the leaders of his community. .  Rashi is borrowing this term from the Midrash, but he is  not deciding who is correct in the Medresh.  This would be like  Shimon HaTzaddick meeting Alexander the Great.  The greatest person in Israel. 
  2. A gift
  3. As he was approaching Eisav he humbled himself by bowing seven times.See below my comments on Chapter 33, verse 4, Rashi and Sforno..

These three efforts and especially the last one turned Eisav’s heart from hatred to love.

Yaakov Meets Eisav:

Perek 33   –   ל״ג   

Verse 1

וַיִּשָּׂ֨א יַעֲקֹ֜ב עֵינָ֗יו וַיַּרְא֙ וְהִנֵּ֣ה עֵשָׂ֣ו בָּ֔א וְעִמּ֕וֹ אַרְבַּ֥ע מֵא֖וֹת אִ֑ישׁ וַיַּ֣חַץ אֶת־הַיְלָדִ֗ים עַל־לֵאָה֙ וְעַל־רָחֵ֔ל וְעַ֖ל שְׁתֵּ֥י הַשְּׁפָחֽוֹת׃

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

Sfrono:

                                                                                                 ועמו ארבע מאות איש שלא התכפרו פניו במנחה:                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

To tell us that he had not been appeased even by the substantial gift Yaakov had sent him.  Just like Rashi is Verse 4.

Verse 2:

וַיָּ֧שֶׂם אֶת־הַשְּׁפָח֛וֹת וְאֶת־יַלְדֵיהֶ֖ן רִֽאשֹׁנָ֑ה וְאֶת־לֵאָ֤ה וִֽילָדֶ֙יהָ֙ אַחֲרֹנִ֔ים וְאֶת־רָחֵ֥ל וְאֶת־יוֹסֵ֖ף אַחֲרֹנִֽים׃

And he put the maids and their children first, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and Joseph last.

Question:  Verse 32:8 says he divided his camp.  Why now are his family all together?  I think the answer is that once he fought the angel and was victorious, Yaakov was no longer afraid and put his family back together.

Verse 3:

וְה֖וּא עָבַ֣ר לִפְנֵיהֶ֑ם וַיִּשְׁתַּ֤חוּ אַ֙רְצָה֙ שֶׁ֣בַע פְּעָמִ֔ים עַד־גִּשְׁתּ֖וֹ עַד־אָחִֽיו

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

Verse 4:

וַיָּ֨רָץ עֵשָׂ֤ו לִקְרָאתוֹ֙ וַֽיְחַבְּקֵ֔הוּ וַיִּפֹּ֥ל עַל־צַוָּארָ֖ו וַׄיִּׄשָּׁׄקֵ֑ׄהׄוּׄ וַיִּבְכּֽוּ׃

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

Rashi

ויחבקהו. נִתְגַּלְגְּלוּ רַחֲמָיו, כְּשֶׁרָאָהוּ מִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה כָּל הִשְׁתַּחֲוָאוֹת הַלָּלוּ

We see from the below Rashi that Eisv wanted to kill Yaakov all the way until he saw Yaakov bowing down to Eisav and only then did Eisav become friendly.  Refer to below Sforno.

 AND EMBRACED HIM — His pity was aroused when he saw him prostrating himself so many times (Genesis Rabbah 78:8).

Rashi:

וישקהו. נָקוּד עָלָיו; וְיֵשׁ חוֹלְקִין בַּדָּבָר הַזֶּה בַּבָּרַיְתָא דְּסִפְרֵי, יֵשׁ שֶׁדָּרְשׁוּ נְקֻדָּה זוֹ שֶׁלֹּא נְשָׁקוֹ בְּכָל לִבּוֹ, אָמַר רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן יוֹחַאי, הֲלָכָה הִיא בְּיָדוּעַ שֶׁעֵשָׂו שׂוֹנֵא לְיַעֲקֹב, אֶלָּא שֶׁנִּכְמְרוּ רַחֲמָיו בְּאוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה וּנְשָׁקוֹ בְּכָל לִבּוֹ (ספרי במדבר):

 Dots are placed above the letters of this word, and a difference of opinion is expressed in the Baraitha of Sifré (בהעלותך) as to what these dots are intended to suggest: some explain the dotting as meaning that he did not kiss him with his whole heart, whereas R Simeon the son of Johai said: Is it not well-known that Esau hated Jacob? But at that moment his pity was really aroused and he kissed him with his whole heart. (Sifrei Bamidbar 69.2)

Sforno

וירץ עשו – נהפך לבו כמו רגע בהכנעותיו של יעקב כאמרם ז”ל שאחיהו השילוני קלל את ישראל בקנה הנכנע לכל הרוחות הן לו עשו כן בריוני בית שני לא היה נחרב בית מקדשנו כמו שהעיד רבי יוחנן בן זכאי באמרו (גטין פרק הנזקין) בריוני דבן לא שבקונן:

וירץ עשו, his attitude changed suddenly when he realised to what extent Yaakov had humbled himself before him. It is of great concern to us seeing that we live among the descendants of Esau, people who are arrogant, consider themselves invincible. Yaakov’s conduct vis a vis Esau teaches that the only way to escape the sword of Esau is through self degradation and gifts. This corresponds to what our sages taught us (Taanit 20) that the curses of the prophet Achiyah Hashiloni were more beneficial to the Jewish people than the blessing showered upon them by Bileam. Achiyah had cursed the Jewish people describing them as a reed which bends in all directions, a reference to someone demeaning himself rather than facing up to adversaries. (Kings I 14,15) If the Jewish people during the period of the second Temple had taken his advice to heart, the Temple would not have been destroyed. Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakkai testified to this when he said “if not for the militant extremists the Romans would not have destroyed the Temple.”

Baal Haturim:

וישקהו נקוד למעלה שכיון לנשכו:

וישקהו בגימטריא לנושכיהו. דור חרבות שני”ו בגימטריא עשו:

We see from the Sforno and the Baal Haturim that Eisav wanted to kill Yaakov up until the very end and once he saw Yaakov  bowing down did Esav’s heart melt.

The lesson from Rashi, Sforno, and the Ba’al Haturim is that to fight anti-semitism we must humble ourselfs, show deference, but be firm in showing the we, the Jewish people only want to bring good to the world.  When someone says something against Israel or Jews the wrong thing to do is accuse them of being an anti-semite.   Screaming anti-semitism is the wrong thing to do and embarrassing them is wrong.     Educate.   For example, AOC is not an anti-semite.  We should work with her so when she says something we do not agree with, she has a point of reference, a go to person.   Of course this will not always work, but our first response should be muted.    Have a leader in Israel or a highly respected person call them up or meet with them privately to show them the Israeli view.  I do not think many of these people are really anti-semeitc, they have a different view, a different mindset and we have to work to correct this mindset.  I believe that when Rabbi Ovadya Yosef was alive, he should have been the Israeli emissary to the Arab world, privately meeting with Arab leaders.   I worked  over 30 years in banking as a Jewish man  with a Yarmulke and my career sparkled with goodness.  I was unique so everyone knew me in the bank and I am proud now that my career is over that I was a positive influence on many employees and customers.  

Verse 10:

וַיֹּ֣אמֶר יַעֲקֹ֗ב אַל־נָא֙ אִם־ ־נָ֤ א מָצָ֤אתִי חֵן֙ בְּעֵינֶ֔יךָ וְלָקַחְתָּ֥ מִנְחָתִ֖י מִיָּדִ֑י כִּ֣י עַל־כֵּ֞ן רָאִ֣יתִי פָנֶ֗יךָ כִּרְאֹ֛ת פְּנֵ֥י אֱלֹהִ֖ים וַתִּרְצֵֽנִי׃

But Jacob 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 God, and you have received me favorably.

Verse 11:

קַח־נָ֤א אֶת־בִּרְכָתִי֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר הֻבָ֣את לָ֔ךְ כִּֽי־חַנַּ֥נִי אֱלֹהִ֖ים וְכִ֣י יֶשׁ־לִי־כֹ֑ל וַיִּפְצַר־בּ֖וֹ וַיִּקָּֽח׃

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

Rashi:

ברכתי. מִנְחָתִי, מִנְחָה זוֹ הַבָּאָה עַל רְאִיַּת פָּנִים וְלִפְרָקִים אֵינָה בָאָה אֶלָּא לִשְׁאֵלַת שָׁלוֹם, וְכָל בְּרָכָה שֶׁהִיא לִרְאִיַּת פָּנִים – כְּגוֹן וַיְבָרֶךְ יַעֲקֹב אֶת פַּרְעֹה (בראשית מ״ז:ז׳), עֲשׂוּ אִתִּי בְרָכָה דְּסַנְחֵרִיב (מלכים ב י”ח), וְכֵן לִשְׁאָל לוֹ לְשָׁלוֹם וּלְבָרְכוֹ דְּתֹעִי מֶלֶךְ חֲמָת (שמואל ב ח’) – כֻּלָּם לְשׁוֹן בִּרְכַּת שָׁלוֹם הֵן, שֶׁקּוֹרִין בְּלַעַז שלו”איר, אַף זוֹ בִּרְכָתִי מו”ן שלו”ד:

Ramban:

קח נא את ברכתי המנחה וכן עשו אתי ברכה (מלכים ב יח לא) השיבו לי מנחה וכן קח נא ברכה מאת עבדך (שם ה טו) ויקראו המנחה שישלח האדם לרצונו ברכה כי הוא שולח מאשר ברך אותו השם כענין אשר ברכך ה’ אלהיך תתן לו (דברים טו יד) כאשר אמר למעלה (לב יד) מן הבא בידו והמנחה אשר התנו בה למלך בדבר ידוע תקרא מס:

Tur Haruch:

קח נא את ברכתי. פי’ מנחתי כי המנחה שאדם שולח מרצונו נקראת ברכה לפי ששולח מרצונו מאשר ברכו ה’ והמנח’ שמביאין למלך נקראת מס:

Rosh:

קח נא את ברכתי וגו’. המינים ארורים פוקרים ואומרים שהודה יעקב לעשו על הברכות שלא אמר את מנחתי. וזריתי פרש על פניהם כתיב אשר הובאת לך משמע המובא בידים שיש בו ממש ויהבינן להו כלהו טעותייהו לפי שגער בו הקב”ה ואמר לו אני אל שדי פרה ורבה כלו’ לא עליך לתתם כי אם לי שהבטחתי לאבותיך עלי לקיים ולך אני אקיים מה שנדרתי להם והמלאך ברכו שם אחר מעשה זה וגם יצחק אמר לו גם ברוך יהיה ובהפרדו ללכת לחרן ברכו בג’ ברכות בג’ מקומות ונתן לו ברכת אבותיו ועוד דכתיב ויפצר בו ויקח ואלו כן היה נוטלם עשו ברצון שהרי נראה לו שנטלם יעקב במרמה ותשובתם נשאר מעל:

Second piece of Torah on this Parsha:

There is a fascinating Verse towards the end of the Sedra.

Chapter 36, Verse 6 and Verse 7::

וַיִּקַּ֣ח עֵשָׂ֡ו אֶת־נָ֠שָׁיו וְאֶת־בָּנָ֣יו וְאֶת־בְּנֹתָיו֮ וְאֶת־כָּל־נַפְשׁ֣וֹת בֵּיתוֹ֒ וְאֶת־מִקְנֵ֣הוּ וְאֶת־כָּל־בְּהֶמְתּ֗וֹ וְאֵת֙ כָּל־קִנְיָנ֔וֹ אֲשֶׁ֥ר רָכַ֖שׁ בְּאֶ֣רֶץ כְּנָ֑עַן וַיֵּ֣לֶךְ אֶל־אֶ֔רֶץ מִפְּנֵ֖י יַעֲקֹ֥ב אָחִֽיו׃

Esau took his wives, his sons and daughters, and all the members of his household, his cattle and all his livestock, and all the property that he had acquired in the land of Canaan, and went to another land because of his brother Jacob.

כִּֽי־הָיָ֧ה רְכוּשָׁ֛ם רָ֖ב מִשֶּׁ֣בֶת יַחְדָּ֑ו וְלֹ֨א יָֽכְלָ֜ה אֶ֤רֶץ מְגֽוּרֵיהֶם֙ לָשֵׂ֣את אֹתָ֔ם מִפְּנֵ֖י מִקְנֵיהֶֽם׃

For their possessions were too many for them to dwell together, and the land where they sojourned could not support them because of their livestock.

Rashi on Verse 7:

לא יכלה ארץ מגוריהם. לְהַסְפִּיק מִרְעֶה לַבְּהֵמוֹת שֶׁלָּהֶם (ב”ר). וּמִ”אַ: מפני יעקב אחיו. מִפְּנֵי שְׁטַר חוֹב שֶׁל גְּזֵרַת “כִּי גֵר יִהְיֶה זַרְעֲךָ” הַמֻּטָּל עַל זַרְעוֹ שֶׁל יִצְחָק, אָמַר אֵלֵךְ לִי מִכָּאן, אֵין לִי חֵלֶק לֹא בַּמַּתָּנָה, שֶׁנִּתְּנָה לוֹ הָאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת, וְלֹא בְּפִרְעוֹן הַשְּׁטָר, וּמִפְּנֵי הַבּוּשָׁה שֶׁמָּכַר בְּכוֹרָתוֹ:

 AND THE LAND OF THEIR SOJOURNINGS COULD NOT — supply sufficient pasture for the cattle which they had. A Midrashic comment (Genesis Rabbah 82)  is: on account of the bond of indebtedness involved in the decree, (Genesis 14:13) “thy seed shall be a stranger etc… and they shall afflict them etc.” that was imposed upon Isaac’s descendants. He said, “I shall go hence — I desire no part either in the gift of this land which has been made to him (to my father) nor in the payment of this bond” . Another reason why he went away was on account of the shame he felt at having sold his birthright (cf. Genesis Rabbah 82:13).

Targum Yonasan Ben Uziel on this Pasuk

וּדְבַר עֵשָו יַת נְשׁוֹי וְיַת בְּנוֹי וְיַת בְּנָתוֹי וְיַת כָּל נַפְשַׁת בֵּיתֵיהּ וְיַת גֵיתוֹי וְיַת בְּעִירוֹי וְיַת כָּל נִכְסוֹי דִי קָנָה בְּאַרְעָא דִכְנָעַן וְטַיָיל לְאַרַע אוֹחֲרִי דַהֲוָה רַמְיָא עֲלוֹי אֵימָתָא דְיַעֲקב אָחוּהִי

And Esau had taken his wives and his sons and his daughters, and all the souls of his house, and his flocks and his cattle, and all the substance which he had gotten in the land of Kenaan, and had gone into another land; for there fell upon him a fear of Jakob his brother:

Explanation:

It is fascinating that Yaakov comes back to his father and Eisav is still living there with his father.  Even though earlier in the Parsha it says that Eisav was coming from Har Seir with 400 men.  I am not sure of the answer.

The Torah gives the reason why Eisav moved away from Yaakov:

  1. Yaakov and Eisev were both wealthy, had many cattle and the land could not support both of them so Eisav moved away.

Rashi adds two other reasons:

  1. Eisav did not want his kids to go into slavery
  2. He was embarrassed that he sold his birthright

The Targum Yonasan Ben Uziel adds a fourth reason

  1. “and had gone into another land; for there fell upon him a fear of Jakob his brother”

What is Targum Yonasan Ben Uziel saying?  What fear of Yaakov?  The “Perush Yonasan” explains this enigmatic Targum as follows.  Eisav moved away because he heard that Shimon and Levy killed out Shechem and because of his fear of them Eisav left.

What does this mean?

 We know from Rashi on Verse 35:8  the full extent of the evil  of  Eisav.  Rashi says that the Torah does not mention the death of Rivka, Eisav and Yaakov’s mother .  Rashi states:

 An Agada (Genesis Rabbah 81:5) states that he there received news of another mourning for he was informed that his mother had died. — In Greek allon means “another”. — Because the time of her death was kept secret in order that people might not curse the mother who gave birth to Esau, Scripture also does not make open mention of her death (Midrash Tanchuma, Ki Teitzei 4).

The Hebrew is a little more graphic.

וְאַגָּדָה, נִתְבַּשֵּׂר שָׁם בְּאֵבֶל שֵׁנִי, שֶׁהֻגַּד לוֹ עַל אִמּוֹ שֶׁמֵּתָה (בראשית רבה), וְאַלּוֹן בִּלְשׁוֹן יְוָנִי אַחֵר, וּלְפִי שֶׁהֶעֱלִימוּ אֶת יוֹם מוֹתָהּ שֶׁלֹּא יְקַלְּלוּ הַבְּרִיּוֹת כֶּרֶס שֶׁיָּצָא מִמֶּנּוּ עֵשָׂו, אַף הַכָּתוּב לֹא פִרְסְמָהּ:

Eisav was a murderer, a plunder, hated by everyone and was able to do his evil unhindered.  However, when he heard that Yaakov had two sons who were men of strength, who would not tolerate evil, there was a new sheriff in town.  As a result Eisav left.   I got my understanding from an article written by Denis Prager in the December 4, 2020 issue of the Jewish Press

Denis Prager writes:

“Fakhrizadeh is the fifth Iranian nuclear scientist to have been killed in the last 13 years. One must assume that most, if not all, of these assassinations, whether Israel was involved or not, were carried out by Iranians – which only shows how many Iranians loathe their liberty-suppressing, life-suppressing, women-suppressing, Islamo-fascist regime. Too bad Western countries and the Western media also don’t loathe the Iranian regime (what they loathe is labeling the Iranian regime “Islamo-fascist”).”

The Israelis and before them President Trump put the Iranians on notice that there will be repercussions if they continue to pursue their evil in the world.  There is accountability and it is Israel.   This is another gift of the Israelis to the world.  Israel is already a leader in terms of  science, innovations, water desalination  in agriculture, medicine, and everything else.   Of course Israel cannot be the middle eastern policemen, but they can give the Ikranians pause.      If only the Arabs would make peace with Israel, there would be a renaissance in the entire Mideast.

Full Denis Prager Article:

Jewish Press Denis Prager – 12/4/2020 – The Israelis are Amazing and So Is the Left:

I always thought no one – including Israel – could pull off something as incredible as the July 4, 1976, raid on Entebbe, Uganda. To remind readers what happened that day:

A week earlier, on June 27, two Palestinian and two German terrorists hijacked an Air France Tel Aviv-to-Paris flight with 248 passengers on board, which they diverted to Entebbe Airport in Uganda. At the airport, the hijackers and four additional terrorists – aided by Uganda’s Idi Amin regime – held the Israelis and other Jews, and allowed the 148 non-Jewish passengers to fly on to Paris.

The terrorists announced that unless 53 Palestinian prisoners – 40 in Israel and 13 elsewhere – were released, the kidnapped Jews (and the Air France crew, all of whom heroically remained with the Jewish passengers) would be killed.

On July 4, the Israelis flew a disguised transport plane filled with Israeli commandos 2,500 miles from Israel to Entebbe. After refueling in Kenya, they landed in Entebbe, killed the terrorists, and saved nearly every hostage – all in 53 minutes.

No one had seen anything quite like the raid on Entebbe… until last week. On Friday, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the Iranian scientist considered to be “the driving force behind Iran’s nuclear weapons program for two decades,” was assassinated in Iran. To appreciate how remarkable this operation was, consider this: Fakhrizadeh traveled a different route to work every day, rode in a bulletproof car, and was accompanied by three personnel carriers that transported heavily armed bodyguards.

The assassins cut off electricity to the area surrounding the assassination and disabled all video cameras as well. They exploded a car next to Fakhrizadeh’s car and had a remote-control machine gun fire at Fakhrizadeh. The entire operation took three minutes. None of the assassins were killed or even wounded. All 12 (the number of assassins, according to Javad Mogouyi, a documentary filmmaker for Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps) got away.

One would think that every decent human being would welcome the elimination of a man whose life was dedicated to the annihilation of another country. There is, after all, no parallel in the world to the Iranian regime’s repeatedly stated goal of annihilating Israel. And Israel – to the consternation of European leaders, the United Nations, and major American media – does whatever it takes to prevent itself from being annihilated.

John Brennan, the head of the CIA under President Barack Obama, strongly condemned the Fakhrizadeh assassination. Brennan, who has never abandoned the moral values he held when he was a communist, condemned the assassination as “a criminal act” and “highly reckless” and labeled it “murder” and “state-sponsored terrorism.

He asked Iran to “resist the urge” to retaliate and “wait for the return of responsible American leadership on the global stage.” In other words, wait until the Holocaust-denying, Islamo-fascist, America-hating, genocide-seeking Iranian regime is appeased by a Democrat in the White House.

A United Nations spokesman said, “We condemn any assassination or extrajudicial killing.”

A spokesperson for the European Union called Fakhrizadeh’s killing “a criminal act” that “runs counter to the principle of respect for human rights the EU stands for.”

A New York Times opinion piece said the assassination “could strengthen hard-line factions in Iran arguing against a return to diplomacy.” This statement embodies the naiveté of the world’s left, including liberals: that evil regimes are composed of “hard-line factions” and “moderate factions.”

The author of the Times opinion piece, Barbara Slavin of the Atlantic Council, added that the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany should “issue a statement condemning the assassination as illegal under international law and damaging to the cause of nonproliferation.” She said, “It would be the ultimate tragedy if Israel’s aggression now led Iran to change its calculus and go for weapons.”

To the left around the world, Israel is the villain here, not Iran.

Upon returning to France, Michel Bacos – the heroic captain of the plane hijacked in 1973 who refused the opportunity to return to France and insisted on remaining with the kidnapped Jews – “was reprimanded by his superiors at Air France and temporarily suspended from duty,” according to The Jerusalem Post (Aug. 3, 2006). Such are the values of our European allies.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s