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Saturday, December 14

The Weekly Shtikle - Vayishlach

At the beginning of the parsha, Yaakov sends messengers to Eisav and briefly explains his current situation. He states (32:6) that after his time with Lavan, he now has cattle, donkeys and sheep. Rabbeinu Bachye suggests that usually the sheep – tzon – would take precedence in a list of different types of animals. However, Yaakov specifically had them mentioned last because it was tzon – the goat –  which was the vehicle by which Yaakov managed to swipe the blessings that Eisav was to receive. He didn't want to put any focus on the sheep and anger Eisav further.


However, later, (32:15) when Yaakov prepares the gifts for Eisav, it seems that the goats are on the forefront. Rabbeinu Bachye, however, makes note of this on that pasuk. He explains that when he initially sent the messengers, it was before his heartfelt supplication to HaShem. However, after the prayer, he felt a surge of confidence and he no longer had any fear of facing Eisav. This confidence was manifest in his putting the goats first. Instead, he was making a statement to Eisav that if he wishes to do battle, he will not succeed because he received the berachah that granted him dominion over Eisav.


This analysis of the goats provided a new insight into an intriguing breakdown of the exact number of goats sent, which is addressed in this blog post. While it explains the number of goats sent, it begs the question why only the goats were sent in that exact number. Now we may understand that there was a particular sensitivity with the goats and that's why they were sent in an amicable number.


Have a shavua tov..

Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:

Dikdukian: Appearances

Al Pi Cheshbon: Goats and Amicable Numbers by Ari Brodsky

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