Torah Lesson: VAYISHLACH (and he sent)

Jacob wrestling angel

Genesis 32:4 And he commanded אתם them saying, This is what you will say to my master Esau; Your servant Jacob said this, I have lived with Laban and stayed there until now: 5 And I have oxen and donkeys, flocks and menservants and female servants: and I have sent to tell my master, that I may find grace in your sight. 6 And the messengers returned to Jacob saying, We came to your brother Esau and he comes to meet you with four hundred men. 7 Then Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed: and he divided את־ the people that was אתו with him וְאת־ and the flocks וְאת־ and herds and the camels into two camps. C-MATS

Question: Why was the righteous Jacob afraid? Didn’t he trust in יהוה? Jacob may have been concerned that he had sinned when he sealed the covenant with Laban or by not honoring his parents for 20 years. Jacob knew that he had personally injured Esau and יהוה may have pity on Esau. He may have been distressed that he may have to kill someone to defend his family. He was distressed by the very fact that he was afraid, for such fear indicated a lack of trust in יהוה’s promise. Chumash

Genesis 32:8 And Jacob said, If Esau comes to הָאחַת the one company and destroys it, then the other company, which is left, will escape. C-MATS

Question: How did Jacob prepare to meet Esau?

  1. He readied himself and his camp for a battle unto the death.
  2. He threw himself upon יהוה’s mercy through prayer.
  3. He sent a lavish gift to appease Esau’s anger. Chumash

Genesis 32:9 And Jacob said, O Elohim of my father Abraham and Elohim of my father Isaac, יהוה which said to me, Return to your country and to your kinsmen and I will deal well with you: 10 I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all הָאמֶת the faithfulness, which you have shown to את־ your servant; because with my staff I passed over את־ the Jordan; and now I have become two companies. C-MATS

Question: Why did Jacob think that he was not worthy of יהוה’s mercy? Righteous people can be judged and punished for not having achieved their full potential. Maybe Jacob felt that he was lacking in some way. This is a challenge for everyone to strive to live up to his full potential. Chumash

Discuss: Are you living up to your full potential? Is יהוה grieved when you waste your time, money, and talents? How can you change how you govern your time, money, and talents?