In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Prov.3;6 ב”ה
“Let’s make the next few minutes last forever….”
Parasha Toledot: Family Matters- Recognizing & Remembering 5778
B’ezrat Hashem (God willing) we will attempt to traverse the incredible wealth of treasure visibly placed along the pathways through the parashiot which have transpired since our time off. With Chanukah and ailments and life’s pulling and proving we will attempt to ‘catch up’ to the book we will soon leave, without ‘leaving’ behind the book of B’reshit. The consequences of B’reshit for better and for worse will come along with us into sefer Sh’mot and connect with our lives, if we are willing we will take notice. One thing that struck me throughout these Parashiot is a word- “Recognize”. It is timely that the continued occurrence of this theme in the Torah binds us to the significant “Recognition” that took place when President Donald Trump announced the “Recognition of Jerusalem as the capital city in the Land of Israel”. Furthermore these Parashiot fall out during the time of Chanukah, which was a battle in the Spiritual realm (as well as the physical). The spiritual battle was the fight for the Believers to be able to observe Hashem as God in the world. This is done through observing His commandments. Therefore when they were commanded by men not to recognize the Torah of Hashem or live by it they stood against such demands. They found what they were willing to die for and even on pain of death- they LIVED for it.
#5234 (v) nakar נָכַר- not to know, to be ignorant of, to be acquainted with, to recognize.
- B’reshit 27:23 He did not recognize him, because his hands were hairy like his brother Esau’s hands; so he blessed him.
- B’reshit 31:32 “The one with whom you find your gods shall not live; in the presence of our kinsmen point out what is yours among my belongings and take it for yourself.” For Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen them.
- B’reshit 37:32 …and they sent the varicolored tunic and brought it to their father and said, “We found this; please examine it to see whether it is your son’s tunic or not.”
- B’reshit 37:33 Then he examined it and said, “It is my son’s tunic. A wild beast has devoured him; Joseph has surely been torn to pieces!”
- B’reshit 38:25 It was while she was being brought out that she sent to her father-in-law, saying, “I am with child by the man to whom these things belong.” And she said, “Please examine and see, whose signet ring and cords and staff are these?”
- B’reshit 38:26 Judah recognized them, and said, “She is more righteous than I, inasmuch as I did not give her to my son Shelah.” And he did not have relations with her again.
- B’reshit 42:7 When Joseph saw his brothers he recognized them, but he disguised himself to them and spoke to them harshly. And he said to them, “Where have you come from?” And they said, “From the land of Canaan, to buy food.”
- B’reshit 42:8 But Joseph had recognized his brothers, although they did not recognize him.
Last lesson left us with a “new generation תּוֹלְדֹת” beginning a “new day” for the family of Avraham, (Sarah’s passing and Rivka’s arrival). In Parasha Toledot (generations) we begin with Avraham’s death:
- B’reshit 25;7 These are all the years of Abraham’s life that he lived, one hundred and seventy-five years. 8 Abraham breathed his last and died in a ripe old age, an old man and satisfied שָׂבֵעַ; and he was gathered to his people. 9 Then his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the son of Zohar the Hittite, facing Mamre, 10 the field which Abraham purchased from the sons of Heth; there Abraham was buried with Sarah his wife.
- It is important to note the years of Avraham and that of Yitsach because toward the end of this sefer Ya’acov will make a strong statement when he is asked about the number of years of his life.
- [ B’reshit 35; 28 Now the days of Isaac were one hundred and eighty years. 29 Isaac breathed his last and died and was gathered to his people, an old man of ripe age שָׂבֵעַ; and his sons Esau and Jacob buried him.– notice both Patriarch’s burial’s are attended by sets of brothers who had open estrangement from one another, yet they come together to pay respect to their fathers.]
- B’reshit 47;8 Pharaoh said to Jacob, “How many years have you lived?” 9 So Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The years of my sojourning are one hundred and thirty; few and unpleasant have been the years of my life, nor have they attained the years that my fathers lived during the days of their sojourning.”
- [B’reshit 49;29 Then he charged them and said to them, “I am about to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite… 31“There they buried Abraham and his wife Sarah, there they buried Isaac and his wife Rebekah, and there I buried Leah… 33 When Jacob finished charging his sons, he drew his feet into the bed and breathed his last, and was gathered to his people…. 50;12 Thus his sons did for him as he had charged them; 13 for his sons carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre, which Abraham had bought along with the field for a burial site from Ephron the Hittite. 14After he had buried his father, Joseph returned to Egypt, he and his brothers, and all who had gone up with him to bury his father.
All three Patriarch’s are “gathered to their people”, all three are buried by their sons, all three are buried at the Cave of Macpelah, all three are said to “breathe their last גָּוַע”. Yitsach lives five years longer than Avraham, Ya’acov dies 18 years younger than Avraham, and 23 years younger than Yitsach.
B’reshit 47;28 Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years; so the length of Jacob’s life was one hundred and forty-seven years.
It is noteworthy that with Avraham the Torah tells us of the years he lived his life…I believe this has to do with the “satisfaction” the Torah also mentions. Yitsach is also said to have reached this “ripe” old age being #7649 (adj) savea שָׂבֵעַ – sated, satisfied, abounding. This word is not mentioned in the passing of Ya’acov. Although Avraham and Yitsach each had their own share of troubles the Torah doesn’t mention any seemingly ‘public’ display of dissatisfaction. On the one hand, Phara’oh only asked your age, why offer this negative information? On the other hand perhaps it was humilty’s voice emitted from Ya’acov…perhaps he feels he has not accomplished as much good in the world as his forefathers did, perhaps this is his way of taking responsibility for the “shorter” days of his lifespan and the nature of said days.
Connections to be made before moving on: The text mentions that Ya’acov lived in the land of Mitsrayim for 17 years, Yosef was 17 years old when he is sold down to Egypt. Ya’acov is ‘torn’ from his home, unable to live with his father and mother for 22 years. Yosef is ‘torn’ from Ya’acov’s life for a period of 22 years…he too is unable to live in the security of family and home for this period of time.
B’reshit 25; 21 Isaac prayed to the LORD on behalf of his wife, because she was barren; and the LORD answered him and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22 But the children struggled together within her; and she said, “If it is so, why then am I this way ?” So she went to inquire of the LORD. 2 3The LORD said to her, “Two nations are in your womb; And two peoples will be separated from your body; And one people shall be stronger than the other; And the older shall serve the younger.” 24When her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb. 25 Now the first came forth red, all over like a hairy garment; and they named him Esau. 26 Afterward his brother came forth with his hand holding on to Esau’s heel, so his name was called Jacob; and Isaac was sixty years old when she gave birth to them. 27 When the boys grew up, Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the field, but Jacob was a peaceful man, living in tents. 28 Now Isaac loved Esau, because he had a taste for game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.
Yitsach and Rivka are barren for 20 years, this period plus the time for the boys to have grown makes this a long and lasting marriage. Why then did Rivka not share her prophecy with her husband? Why, does she not bring her concern regarding Esav’s incapability to lead the family in the way of Hashem to Yitsach directly? Perhaps she wanted to give Yitsach the chance to love the boys for who they were, to let character reveal who should be chosen. The text explains that “they” name Esav together while Ya’acov is “called” by this name (Rivka never refers to him by this name, only “my son”). The text also shows us that Rivka loves Ya’acov, while Yitsach must find a reason to love Esav (looking for any merit a ‘problem child’ might have the glimmer of and ‘exploiting’ it in the hopes that encouragement will inspire positive change) Note that it is taught that Esav represents the nations, namely Rome and thus Christianity. Esav is lawless, he does whatever he feels. My prayer is to continue to break out of this role by embracing the Torah of Hashem and going on the unchanging rather than centrally- emotion.]
B’reshit 27;1Now it came about, when Isaac was old and his eyes were too dim to see, that he called his older son Esau and said to him, “My son.” And he said to him, “Here I am.” 2 Isaac said, “Behold now, I am old and I do not know the day of my death. 3“Now then, please take your gear, your quiver and your bow, and go out to the field and hunt game for me; 4 and prepare a savory dish for me such as I love, and bring it to me that I may eat, so that my soul may bless you before I die.” 5 Rebekah was listening while Isaac spoke to his son Esau. So when Esau went to the field to hunt for game to bring home, 6 Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “Behold, I heard your father speak to your brother Esau, saying, 7‘Bring me some game and prepare a savory dish for me, that I may eat, and bless you in the presence of the LORD before my death.’ 8“Now therefore, my son, listen to me as I command you. 9“Go now to the flock and bring me two choice young goats from there, that I may prepare them as a savory dish for your father, such as he loves. 10 “Then you shall bring it to your father, that he may eat, so that he may bless you before his death.”
2 Corinthians 4;2…we have renounced secret and shameful ways. We do not practice deceit, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by open proclamation of the truth, we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Messiah, who is the image of God. 5 For we do not proclaim ourselves, but Yeshua Messiah as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Yeshua’s sake. 6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Yeshua Messiah.
- John 15;16”You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.
- John 17:6 “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.
Blindness can be physical but it can also be spiritual. This is a blindness imposed by God and removed by God. Many are blind to the True Yeshua. Christianity in general has adopted the impression of Jesus as a blonde haired, blue eyed, Torah abolishing, New religion establishing Christ. The Jewish people, in general, have failed to recognize Yeshua as one of their brethren, who kept the Torah as the Messiah was expected to, who never rejected Israel or the Covenant’s which are binding and interacting with one another.
It is the right of the Father to bless
who He pleases.
“Who are you, my son?”
“How is it that you have it so quickly, my son?”
“Please come close, that I may feel you, my son, whether you are really my son Esau or not.”
“The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau.”
“Are you really my son Esau?”
“Please come close and kiss me, my son.”
Six times Yitsach expresses apparent insight despite his lack of physical vision. I have submitted in the past that I believe Yitsach was aware (to use Ya’acov’s own telling words) “the LORD…God caused it to happen”. God’s plans will not be thwarted. Kitsch could have “undone” the deception, but he chose to see that God’s hand was in all of this. Losing one sense makes the other’s heightened- touch (feeling his son) and sound (the voice is of Jacob)…these sense are heightened I think this may show he was aware.
Hebrews 11;17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son; 18 it was he to whom it was said, “In Isaac shall your descendants be called.”19 He considered that God is able to raise even from the dead, from which he also received him back as a type. 20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau, even regarding things to come.
I think that Isaac was aware, and he was submitting to God’s plan instead of his own. Why else would his blessing the way he did be called an act of faith (rather than a ‘unwitting mistake’ by the author of the book of Hebrews? Furthermore, Yitsach is the Father, he is in charge. He can merely say- “hold everything, this wasn’t kosher, I’m going to bless who I want, it goes to Esav.” This isn’t some incantation of magic words. Even so, we see that there is a sort of measure for measure series of consequences brought upon Ya’acov’ life. In everything he did he is matched later in life. Esau lifts up his voice and weeps, this is the same terminology used when Ya’acov…fleeing his brother’s wrath, comes upon his bride. The bride he’ll never really be able to be at one with as he hoped. The bride he would lose at a young age and in an untimely & tragic way.
B’reshit 27; 32 Isaac his father said to him, “Who are you?” And he said, “I am your son, your firstborn, Esau.” 33 Then Isaac trembled violently, and said, “Who was he then that hunted game and brought it to me, so that I ate of all of it before you came, and blessed him? Yes, and he shall be blessed.” 34 When Esau heard the words of his father, he cried out with an exceedingly great and bitter cry, and said to his father, “Bless me, even me also, O my father!” 35 And he said, “Your brother came deceitfully and has taken away your blessing.” 36 Then he said, “Is he not rightly named Jacob, for he has supplanted me these two times? He took away my birthright, and behold, now he has taken away my blessing.” And he said, “Have you not reserved a blessing for me?” 37 But Isaac replied to Esau, “Behold, I have made him your master, and all his relatives I have given to him as servants; and with grain and new wine I have sustained him. Now as for you then, what can I do, my son?” 38 Esau said to his father, “Do you have only one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father.” So Esau lifted his voice and wept….41 So Esau bore a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing with which his father had blessed him; and Esau said to himself, “The days of mourning for my father are near; then I will kill my brother Jacob.” 42 Now when the words of her elder son Esau were reported to Rebekah, she sent and called her younger son Jacob, and said to him, “Behold your brother Esau is consoling himself concerning you by planning to kill you. 43 Now therefore, my son, obey my voice, and arise, flee to Haran, to my brother Laban! 44 Stay with him a few days, until your brother’s fury subsides, 45 until your brother’s anger against you subsides and he forgets what you did to him. Then I will send and get you from there. Why should I be bereaved of you both in one day?”
[ Submitting some thoughts to put into our consideration of these texts. What would possess Rivka to use the words- what YOU did to him in verse 44? This whole thing is her idea. We have carefully looked at Rivka’s instructions to her son in the past, when we read carefully we see that she never gave any instructions regarding deceiving Yitsach. She was in the room when Yitsach makes his intention to bless Esav known (v5 Rebekah was listening while Isaac spoke to his son Esau.), she gets up and takes action. I believe it could have been a situation where Rivka is telling Ya’acov- Go make your case! You show Yitsach that you ‘deserve’ the blessing and go in there and present this to him. It was Ya’acov who say’s “Perhaps my father will feel me, then I will be as a deceiver in his sight, and I will bring upon myself a curse and not a blessing.” (v12) Then Rivka dresses Ya’acov in Esav’s bechor garments. The skins she provides as an absurd way of comforting Ya’acov’s nervousness. Like a placebo to help him go through with this intimidating task (remember all that she says is- make your case). When Ya’acov enters…everything goes off the derek (path-way). He is responsible for opting the indirect, deceptive tact and thus his life is formed by this decision. As I have submitted regarding Yitsach that if he was aware even in part of what is going on I believe the “smell” of Esav’s garments and the animal skins would indicate that Rivka (his one and only true love, wife of over 30 years) is involved as well. She has blessed this arrangement as well. This is something I think he may have been aware of as well. Rivka, having found out of Esav’s intention to kill Ya’acov when his father dies, sends Ya’acov away.
(Note for the future Parasha of Vayishev- this fear of retribution after Father dies is paralleled by the brothers of Yosef when Ya’acov passes. They fear that Yosef may take on the role of Esav and be free to seek revenge for the wrongs they are responsible for. Also note that just as Yosef is repeatedly assuring them- “God arranged this…” this was God’s plan, Ya’acov said the same to his father- “God arranged this…” See: B’reshit 50;15-21). She does so and says, “why should I be bereaved of you both?” Who both? Ya’acov and Yitsach? Or perhaps it is a fight to the death that she fears, thus fearing for both boys being lost?
I think this is a possibility and an opportunity to solidify in our minds that Ya’acov is not a pushover. He is not a skinny, pale, geek. He is strong enough to lift up a stone as a monument at BethEl- large enough to be seen and remembered Ber. 28;18-21; he is strong enough to push the stone off the mouth of the well which would normally take several grown men to move at Haran Ber. 29;1-10; he struggles with what is apparently a Divine Being until he himself is asked to relent Ber. 32;24-32; he is strong enough to physically fight his twin brother Esav.]
B’reshit 28; 12 He had a dream, and behold, a ladder סֻלָּם was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13And behold, the LORD stood above it and said, “I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie, I will give it to you and to your descendants. 14“Your descendants will also be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south; and in you and in your descendants shall all the families of the earth be blessed. 15“Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” 16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.” 17 He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.”
This is the only place the term #5551 סֻלָּם sulam- ladder, is found in the entire bible.
It’s verbal shoresh #5549 salal סָלַל- lift up, elevate, exalt… is found in the following examples:
- Tehillim 68:4 Sing to God, sing praises to His name; Lift up a song for Him who rides through the deserts, Whose name is the LORD, and exult before Him.
- Mishlei 4;8 “Prize her, and she will exalt you; She will honor you if you embrace her. (she= wisdom, wisdom which comes from valuing the Torah of Hashem)
- Mishlei 15;9 The way of the lazy is as a hedge of thorns, But the path of the upright is a highway.
- Yeshayahu 57:14 And it will be said, “Build up, build up, prepare the way, Remove every obstacle out of the way of My people.”
- Yeshuayahu 62:10 Go through, go through the gates, Clear the way for the people; Build up, build up the highway, Remove the stones, lift up a standard over the peoples.
Ya’acov is at a turning point in his life and he has every reason to feel afraid. I believe Ya’acov knows about the prophecy given to Avraham. A prophecy which is the other half of the Promise of abundant progeny and the gift of Eretz Yisrael. This is the very part, the responsibility that comes with the birthright that Esav spurned.
( B’reshit 15;13 “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs,where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years. )
It is at this point before he goes into the “first exile” that Hashem appears to him and reassures him. Looking back on his time with Laban, Ya’acov must have considered- “This is it! The exile in a strange place, where I have been oppressed and yet have come out with great wealth.” Before he enters the “second exile” of his life, going down with his family to live in Egypt with Yosef, God appears to him again and again reassures him. He could have again considered, “This must be it!” Thus the apprehension.
B’reshit 46; 1So Israel set out with all that he had, and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. 2 God spoke to Israel in visions of the night and said, “Jacob, Jacob.” And he said, “Here I am.” 3 He said, “I am God, the God of your father; do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you a great nation there. 4“I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also surely bring you up again; and Joseph will close your eyes.”
“Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it.”
This is our mission in the world. To make God known in the places where He may not have been recognized. To tell the world: There IS God in this place. God is Real. God’s reality in the world is a real thing. God wants for you to know.
God wants for you to come close.
We don’t need reminders for revealed things.
Elections are the first week of November.
December 31st is the last day of the year.
We don’t need a reminder for that.
Hashem is real!
Sometimes we need a reminder
to really internalize this knowledge.
This is what the Torah and the mitzvoth do for us. Torah and Mitzvoth are continually reminding us: Hashem is Real.
He really set up a system for the purpose of remembering Him. His Torah is a reality in this world and it is His reality.
Hashem wants me to come close and the way He set this up is so that He can be seen in every place, in everything we do…through our love of and performance of the Mitsvot.
The Mitzvot declare and remind- God is real!
B’reshit 28;18 So Jacob rose early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on its top. 19 He called the name of that place Bethel; however, previously the name of the city had been Luz. 20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me and will keep me on this journey that I take, and will give me food to eat and garments to wear, 21 and I return to my father’s house in safety, then the Lord will be my God. 22 This stone, which I have set up as a pillar, will be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.”
Ya’acov’s vow is not coming from a person who feels secure in his trustfund. Ya’acov is asking for food water protection…minimal essentials. This is a repeating theme within Ya’acov as we go further into his life.
- B’reshit 29;15 Then Laban said to Jacob, “Because you are my relative, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what shall your wages be?” 16 Now Laban had two daughters; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. 17 And Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful of form and face. 18 Now Jacob loved Rachel, so he said, “I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel.” 19 Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you than to give her to another man; stay with me.” 20 So Jacob served seven years for Rachel and they seemed to him but a few days because of his love for her. (Please note that Ya’acov’s standard for measuring time seems to be based upon his experiences and his emotions. ‘Few and bad have been the years of my life…’ Or, he may have a ‘higher’ or transcendent perception of time. Interesting as well is Laban’s family’s concept of time. When Rivka is to leave with Eleazar the family says: “Let the girl stay with us a few days, say ten; afterward she may go.” Ber.24;55 Ya’acov’s mother sends him off for a stay at Laban’s for a few days that turn into 22 years,)
Ya’acov was offered something, wages. He doesn’t accept this offer (Remember the Children of Chet in the purchase of Machpelah…what is said to be given as a gift can easily be revoked by the fickle man. Also, know who you’re dealing with.) Ya’acov says ‘I’ll work it off. I want to work for it. I see that the brachot aren’t coming down from heaven. Perhaps the blessings aren’t coming because…I don’t deserve them.
- B’reshit 29;22 Laban gathered all the men of the place and made a feast. 23 Now in the evening he took his daughter Leah, and brought her to him; and Jacob went in to her. 24 Laban also gave his maid Zilpah to his daughter Leah as a maid. 25 So it came about in the morning that, behold, it was Leah! And he said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Was it not for Rachel that I served with you? Why then have you deceived me?” 26 But Laban said, “It is not the practice in our place to marry off the younger before the firstborn. 27 Complete the week of this one, and we will give you the other also for the service which you shall serve with me for another seven years.” 28 Jacob did so and completed her week, and he gave him his daughter Rachel as his wife.
When Ya’acov is deceived and given Leah he just ‘does the time’. ‘I am not going to object or divorce her, I am taking my punishment.’ Ya’acov again may see this as Divine retribution.
- B’reshit 35; 9Then God appeared to Jacob again when he came from Paddan-aram, and He blessed him. 10 God said to him, “Your name is Jacob; You shall no longer be called Jacob, But Israel shall be your name.” Thus He called him Israel.
In order to become Israel-
we must be born again.
Ya’acov undergo’s tremendous change and challenge….
When Ya’acov leaves his home, he has to become the “man of the field” shepherding his father-in-law’s flocks. Ya’acov seems to be embracing servitude, unable to believe he deserves a happy life. When Ya’acov meets his bride he is penniless…Israel with nothing to offer, brings water to his beloved.
- Hosea 12; 3 In the womb he took his brother by the heel, and in his maturity he contended with God. 4Yes, he wrestled with the angel and prevailed; He wept and sought His favor. He found Him at Bethel and there He spoke with us, 5 Even the LORD, the God of hosts, The LORD is His name. 6 Therefore, return to your God, Observe kindness and justice, and wait for your God continually. 7 A merchant, in whose hands are false balances, He loves to oppress.
Once Ya’acov faces the angel he can face his demon’s. In the text of the eventual meeting with Esav, after leaving Laban’s house, there is one theme that is repeated. We have looked at this before, but it becomes very important when we later ask the question- Why would Ya’acov send Yosef out to “check on his brother’s in Shechem” when he knew how much strife there was between them? The repeated word between Ya’acov and Esav is FACE. This meetup could have been avoided by Ya’acov. Instead he seeks out this meeting. Why? To face his demon’s to be able to tell himself and believe- I deserve the blessings.
# 6440 (masc. n) panyim פָּנִים- presence, person, in front of, in the presence of, face.
- B’reshit 32; 3 Then Jacob sent messengers before him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom. 4 He also commanded them saying, “Thus you shall say to my lord Esau: ‘Thus says your servant Jacob, “I have sojourned with Laban, and stayed until now; 5 I have oxen and donkeys and flocks and male and female servants; and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find favor in your sight.”…17 He commanded the one in front, saying, “When my brother Esau meets you and asks you, saying, ‘To whom do you belong, and where are you going, and to whom do these animals in front of you לְפָנֶֽיךָ belong?’ 18 then you shall say, ‘These belong to your servant Jacob; it is a present sent to my lord Esau. And behold, he also is behind us.’” 19 Then he commanded also the second and the third, and all those who followed the droves, saying, “After this manner you shall speak to Esau when you find him; 20 and you shall say, ‘Behold, your servant Jacob also is behind us.’” For he said, “I will appease him פָנָיו כָּפַר (Kafar panyim- cover face) with the present that goes before לְפָנָי me. Then afterward I will see his face פָנָיו ; perhaps he will accept me פָנָֽי.”
Ya’acov can’t go “Get the land” unless he feels he deserves it. After the birth of Yosef- one of the most confident characters in the Torah…he finds his confidence.
- B’reshit 30;25 Now it came about when Rachel had borne Joseph, that Jacob said to Laban, “Send me away, that I may go to my own place and to my own country. 26 “Give me my wives and my children for whom I have served you, and let me depart; for you yourself know my service which I have rendered you.”
Ya’acov’s confidence has been found, to Laban he says, ‘where’s my money? Gotta go.’ To Esav, “Look at all the stuff I got.” Ya’acov does all that he can do, he leaves his disturbed in-law’s house before he can execute more wrath; he splits up his camp and prepares for battle. At this point in his life he knows that nothing can stop him. As he wrestles till the break of dawn with this angel, he knows nothing in this world or another world can stop him (he believes in the blessings and assurances of Hashem).
Only when we feel like
we are able to face our demon’s
are we able to take hold of
the blessing we’ve been promised.
B’reshit 31;1Now Jacob heard the words of Laban’s sons, saying, “Jacob has taken away all that was our father’s, and from what belonged to our father he has made all this wealth.” 2 Jacob saw the attitude of Laban, and behold, it was not friendly toward him as formerly. 3 Then the LORD said to Jacob, “Return to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.”… 9 “Thus God has taken away your father’s livestock and given them to me. 10“And it came about at the time when the flock were mating that I lifted up my eyes and saw in a dream, and behold, the male goats which were mating were striped, speckled, & mottled. 11“Then the angel of God said to me in the dream, ‘Jacob,’ and I said, ‘Here I am.’ 12“He said, ‘Lift up now your eyes & see…13 now arise, leave this land, & return to the land of your birth.’”
We will end the lesson coming into our study on Yosef. Ya’acov is (like Yosef) also a dreamer. Ya’acov represents the Jew in exile. Ya’acov goes into galut (exile) twice. The two exiles are different, his challenges are different and he responds very differently. The two types of exile- Physical- Slavery, this is when we are physically attacked and wiped out. Just prior to the period when the battles and miracles of Chanukah took place the Jew’s were allowed (by Alexander) to keep their practices of Judaism. They were allowed to worship Hashem and practice their faith to some degree, they were also encouraged to ‘mix’ to accustom themselves to the ways of the Greeks. Laban, when Ya’acov first arrives speaks thusly, “you’re my brother, my flesh and blood.” By the end he says- everything is mine! Laban wanted to uproot everything, by assimilating Ya’acov and having him stay in his house.
This is where Avraham’s mission- that destiny Ya’acov was blessed with in the tent that day with Yitsach… to bring Torah to the Land of Israel and exemplify closeness with Hashem through His rites in the Holy Temple…intersect with our own mission here and now. As testifiers to the Awesome splendor and continuity of the God of Israel, as witnesses to the Eternal nature of Hashem’s word, it could be incumbent upon us to be the reminders, to evoke that recognition in this world that just doesn’t know it…yet.
God is real, His reality is the only reality, He is with us,
He goes into exile with His people
and eventually He will raise us up.
May you be blessed to continue this span of information with me, filled with excitement and enthusiasm as we approach the end of this sefer…just as we had at the beginning (B’reshit). May you face any demon’s that may haunt your heart, be free and take a hold of the promises you have been given. May you indeed learn what you are willing to work for, to stand up for, even to die for and live for it with the attitude of obtaining so much more than just surviving through these fleeting days…but leaving a legacy of fullness and gratitude. May any pains you experience be like that of Ya’acov’s days of toil that seemed like an instant because of your Love of Hashem, & because of His love for you.
This learning is in memory of Mirjam and with all our prayers for the Refuah Shelemah of Lilly.
Resources: See Homepage on this Blog and the My Resources entry for a complete list of sources. Much of this entry was learned from Ari Kahn, Rabbi Shlomo Katz, Bill Cloud, Rabbi David Fohrman, Rabbi Chaim Richman.