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Friday, December 1

The Weekly Shtikle - Vayishlach

This week's parsha contains the famous showdown (32:23-30) between Yaakov and the angel when Yaakov finds himself alone at night after having helped his family across the Yabok crossing. After emerging victorious, he is given his new name, Yisrael. The Torah text does not explain why or how Yaakov was by his lonesome at that moment. Most school children will likely be very familiar with Rashi's explanation that he went back to retrieve some small jars he had left behind. However, last year, a friend referred me to a channel from Noam Jacobson, offering a very short, well-produced video thought on the parsha. He offers a fascinating approach to this whole episode.


I highly recommend hearing it straight from Noam himself for his emotional, personal touch:

Noam Jacobson Vayishlach (English)

Noam Jacobson Vayishlach (Hebrew)

However, for those who do not wish to or are unable to access YouTube, as well as for the benefit of Shabbos reading, I will do my best to rewrite his thoughts here.


Rashba"m suggests shockingly that Yaakov's intent was actually to run away and avoid a confrontation with Eisav altogether. The angel was not coming to prevent Yaakov from meeting Eisav but rather, to prevent his escape. In fact, running away was simply what Yaakov had become accustomed to doing. The skirmish with the angel was meant to prove to him that he need not run away anymore. He needs to face Eisav directly. And he can, because he overcame an angel.


He (Noam Jacobson, not Rashba"m) suggests that this correlates with the addition of the name Yisrael, relating to the word yashar, straight. Besting the angel gave Yaakov the inspiration to stop trying to run in all sorts of directions but to face adversity head on.


Have a good Shabbos.


Eliezer Bulka

Shtikle Blog Weekly Roundup:

Dikdukian: The Great Dishon Confusion

Dikdukian: Appearances

Dikdukian: Efrasah, What is your Real Name?

Al Pi Cheshbon: Goats and Amicable Numbers by Dr. Ari Brodsky

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