Contents » Calendar » Find » Reference
Divrei Torah 
Navigating the Bible
Genesis » VaYishlach
  Lech Lecha
  Chayey Sarah
Returning home, Ya’akov sends angelic messengers to appease his brother Esav. The messengers return, telling Ya’akov that Esav is approaching him with an army of four hundred men. Ya’akov takes the strategic precautions of dividing the camps, praying for assistance, and sending a tribute to mollify Esav. That night, Ya’akov is left alone, and wrestles with the angel of Esav. Although Ya’akov emerges victorious, he is left with an injured sinew in his thigh (which is the reason that it is forbidden to eat the sciatic nerve of a kosher animal).

The angel tells him that his name in the future will be Yisrael, signifying that he has prevailed against man (Lavan) and the supernatural realm (the angel). The brothers meet and are reconciled, but Ya’akov, still fearful of his brother, rejects Esav's offer that they should dwell together.

Shechem, a Caananite prince, abducts and violates Dinah, Ya’akov's daughter. In return for Dinah's hand in marriage, the prince and his father suggest that Ya’akov and his family intermarry and enjoy the fruits of Caananite prosperity. Ya’akov's sons trick Shechem and his father by feigning agreement -- however, they stipulate that all the males of the city must undergo brit milah. While weakened by the circumcision, Shimon and Levi, two of Dinah's brothers, enter the town and execute all the males.

This action is justified by the city's tacit complicity in the abduction of their sister. HaShem commands Ya’akov to go to Beyt-El and build an altar there. His mother Rivkah's nurse, Devorah, dies and is buried below Beyt-El. HaShem appears again to Ya’akov, blesses him and changes his name to Yisrael. While travelling, Rachel goes into labour and gives birth to Binyamin, the twelfth of the tribes of Yisrael. She dies in childbirth and is buried on the Beyt Lechem Road. Ya’akov builds a monument to her, which is still there today, as the Torah predicts. Yitschak passes away at the age of one hundred and eighty, and is buried by his sons. The Parashah concludes by listing Esav's descendants.

Copyright © 2000 World ORT
Notice: This computer program is protected by copyright law and international treaties. Unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this program, or any portion of it, may result in severe civil and criminal penalties, and will be prosecuted to the maximum extent possible under the law.