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This week's 10-Minute Torah (December 10, 2022): Parashat Vayishlach 5783

Parashat Vayishlach 5783 / פָּרָשַׁת וַיִּשְׁלַח

10 December 2022 / 16 Kislev 5783

Parashat Vayishlach is the 8th weekly Torah portion in the annual Jewish cycle of Torah reading.

Torah Portion: Genesis 32:4-36:43

Vayishlach (“He Sent”) follows Jacob and his family as Jacob wrestles with a man (commonly understood as an angel), is renamed Israel, and reconciles with his brother, Esau. Jacob’s daughter, Dina, is raped by a Hivite prince, and her brothers sack a city in response. Rachel dies as she gives birth to Jacob's youngest child, Benjamin. [1]

Triennial year 1

1: 32:4-6 · 3 p’sukim ·

2: 32:7-9 · 3 p’sukim ·

3: 32:10-13 · 4 p’sukim ·

4: 32:14-22 · 9 p’sukim ·

5: 32:23-30 · 8 p’sukim ·

6: 32:31-33:5 · 8 p’sukim ·

7: 33:6-20 · 15 p’sukim ·

maf: 33:18-20 · 3 p’sukim ·

Haftarah: Obadiah 1:1-21 · 21 p’sukim

Soncino Chumash: pp. 122 - 127 Triennial Year 1 (Full Kriyah pp.122 - 134)

Artscroll Chumash: pp. 170 - 155 Triennial Year 1 (Full Kriyah pp. 170 - 197)

Etz Chaim Chumash: pp.198 - 206 Triennial Year 1 (Full Kriyah pp.198 - 220)

Here we see Jacob struggling in two scenarios. Do these struggles represent or are they symbolic of his real-life challenges? Is he facing both spiritual and secular issues?

Jacob has left Laban and is returning to back to Canaan, the land of his father Isaac. He is passing through the land of Edom, of his estranged brother Esau. He learns that Esau has heard of his travel and has assembled an army of 400 men to meet Jacob. Jacob is fearful and takes precautions. He prays to G-d, sends gifts ahead, and separates his family—along with servants and livestock—all as a military strategy. From his example, we learn to do the same in any challenging situation. We Jews do not rely on prayer, or miracles, alone, but we prepare.

Jacob has a dream that he wrestles with an angel. Some commentators say that this was the protecting angel of Edom, the same is Esau. Jacob prevailed. Later, he is given the spiritual name of “Israel”, among whose connotations is struggling.

Such do these spiritual incidents reflect Jacob’s life challenges, as does his additional, spiritual name. Thus when we are struggling in life, we do not ignore the spiritual implications of those challenges. As we travel through life, let us react with our own morality and integrity as well.

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