Vayishlach-2016

Va’yishlach

Vayishlach | ????? | “He sent “

The eighth reading from the book of Genesis is named Vayishlach (?????), which means “And he sent”.

The title comes from the first verse of the reading, which says, “Then Jacob sent messengers before him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom” (Genesis 32:3 ). Jacob prepares to meet Esau as he returns to the Promised Land, but first he has a mysterious encounter with an angel in the darkness, who changes his name to Israel. The portion follows Jacob’s adventures in the land of Canaan, including the loss of his beloved wife, Rachel.

For his meeting with his brother Esau, after 22 years, Jacob prepares a large gift. Esau responds (33:9): “I have much (rav), my brother; keep yours.” Jacob urges Esau to accept it anyway (33:11): “Take what I offer; G-d has favored me and I have everything (kol).”

The Kli Yakar (Rabbi Shlomo Efraim Luntschitz, Poland, 16th) and the Hafetz Hayim (Israel Meir HaKohen, Kagan, 1839-1933) both note that one who has much, generally wants more. Whereas, one who has everything is satisfied. He is ha’sameah b’helklo, is content with his portion, truly “wealthy” as defined in Pirkei Avot (4:1).

The Zohar explains that prior to arriving in Israel, Jacob realized Esau was not his enemy. The enemy was his own dark side. He wrestled with his dark angels, and in that process, he created positive angels that went ahead and paved the path for peace. He continues to confront himself when he bows before Esau. His lesson to us is that when we realize the enemy is always within, and when we are willing to do whatever it takes to defeat our own darkness, we can create positive angels (messengers) that can warm up the coldest of hearts. Change ourselves, and we change reality.

In order to build his House, Jacob had to struggle with two major adversaries: Esau and Laban. Esau embodies the threat to the Holy House from the forces of excess and evil in the material world. The focus is on Jacob’s encounter with Laban, whose threat to the Holy House is from the forces of excess in the spiritual worlds. Thus while Esau is portrayed as a HUNTER-WARRIOR, Laban is portrayed as a PRIEST (Rashi on Gen. 24:21, Gen. 31:30ff).

Then the Adversary(Enemy) let him alone, and angels came and took care of him – Matthew 4:11

Yeshua summoned the Twelve and started Sending them out in pairs, giving them authority over the unclean spirits – Mark 6:7

For we are not struggling against human beings, but against the rulers, authorities and cosmic powers governing this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm – Ephesians 6:12

The Son of G-d appeared for this purpose, to destroy the Works of the devil – I John 3 : 8

Torah

Genesis 32:3-36:43 ; Genesis 34:1

Genesis 35 : 9 -10

Haftarah Portion

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Hosea 11:7-12:12, Obadiah 1:1-21

Ha-Berit ha-Hadashah

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John 1:19-2:12

2 Corinthians 5:17 ; Matthew 10 : 16

Ephesians 6:12-18; Revelation 17:14

Notes:

In the portion, VaYishlach (And Jacob Sent), Jacob wants to make Peace with Esau after running away from him and being with Laban for many years. Esau sends angels to Jacob, and they inform him that Esau is headed toward him with four hundred men.

G-d shall fight for you, and you shall hold your peace – Exodus 14:14

As he prepared to face Esau, Jacob experienced a strange mystical encounter with God. He had sent his family, his servants and his possessions across a river ahead of him. He was about to follow when he was suddenly attacked by an assailant. Jacob wrestled the man through the night. The attacker turned out to be none other than the angel of the LORD.

Jacob engages in a most peculiar “wrestling match.” Jewish tradition holds in this context being is Samael, the guardian angel of Esau and incarnation of evil.

Jacob wrestled with the angel through the night. He would not let the angel go. Jacob said to the angel, “I will not let you go unless you bless me” (Genesis 32:26)

The angel blessed Jacob by changing his name to Israel. Later in this week’s portion, in Genesis 35, the name change is repeated. When Jacob returns to Bethel, the LORD tells him, “‘Your name is Jacob; you shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel shall be your name.’ Thus He called him Israel” (Genesis 35:10).

Rashi explains this name change as if the angel said, “No longer shall you be called Yaakov, because they will no longer say that the blessings came to you by means of trickery (yakav, ????) and deceit. You shall be called Yisrael (?????), because you have been publicly authorized (sararah, ????) to receive the blessing.”

In this portion Few Points need to be noted:

It is written that Jacob comes out with a Gift, a Prayer, and with War. He prepares every tactic.

Esau is contesting the birthright issue

In order to be “free and clear” of this, Jacob must get Esau to relinquish any claim

Esau is coming to kill Jacob

Jacob is in fear and prays to G-d for help

What this wrestling (“entwining”) episode is in reality is a the defeat of Esau in the spiritual realm prior to that in the physical. The angel is forced to concede any lingering claims he (and/or Esau) have on the birthright. This is the “blessing” the angels confers on Jacob. (“Blessing” = to increase, and Jacob is increased [and Esau diminished] by this blessing.) The result in the physical realm is that when Esau meets Jacob, he does try to kill him, but surprises him by greeting him warmly. The battle had already been decided in the spiritual realm.

In Genesis 32:4 we are told that Jacob sent “messengers” ahead to meet his brother Esau. Some of the sages interpret this as “divine messengers” – that being angels.

Jacob’s instructions for his messengers show him as being as “kind as a dove” as well as “wise as a serpent.

Yeshua Words:

Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves – Matthew 10 : 16

It is a fundamental principle of spiritual reality, that when “battles” are fought, there is an engagement in the spiritual realm before the physical fight takes place. (i.e., G-d had to “disabled” the gods of the Egyptians, Philistines, Amalekites, etc., before the Hebrew people could defeat them in the physical realm.)

Finally Jacob wants to make peace with Esau after running away from him and being with Laban for many years.

The Zohar says Esau sharpened his teeth so that he could bite Jacob’s neck. In response to this ominous threat, the Bible says that he sends messengers to spoil Esau with luxurious gifts and lavish praise. When Jacob finally arrives, he approaches Esau and bows down before him seven times. When he stands and moves closer to embrace his older brother, Esau goes to bite him on the neck, but all of a sudden experiences a complete transformation of heart. Out of nowhere, he is flooded with waves of love for his younger brother, and instead of biting, he kisses his brother.

It is another fundamental principle of spiritual reality, that when Jacob is “up” Esau is “down” and vice-versa. When one is increased (i.e., “blessed”) the other is diminished.

So take up every piece of war equipment G-d provides; so that when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist; and when the battle is won, you will still be standing. 14 Therefore, stand! Have the belt of truth buckled around your waist, put on righteousness for a breastplate, 15 and wear on your feet the readiness that comes from the Good News of shalom.16 Always carry the shield of trust, with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the Evil One. 17 And take the helmet of deliverance;along with the sword given by the Spirit, that is, the Word of G-d; 18 as you pray at all times, with all kinds of prayers and requests, in the Spirit, vigilantly and persistently, for all G-d’s people. – Ephesians 6:13-18

They will go to war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will defeat them, because he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are called, chosen and faithful will overcome along with him – Revelation 17:14

May Peace comes upon the House of Israel and House of Judah Under the divine mandate of Mashiach.

Shalom – GADDI