Vayishlach (Genesis 32:4-36:43 )
GOOD MORNING! Mark Twain wrote a fascinating article, "Concerning the Jews," in the Harper's Magazine in 1897. In the epilogue he concludes:
"The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed, and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other peoples have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished. The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal, but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?"
If Mr. Twain had looked in the Torah and the Prophets, he would have found the following prophecies setting forth the covenant between the Almighty and the Jewish people for eternity. Prophecies for eternity backed by the Almighty are the secret of the Jewish people's immortality. Here they are:
"And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you throughout their generations, an eternal covenant, to be your God and the God of the descendants after you." (Genesis 17:7)
"Thus, even while they are in the land of their enemies, I will neither reject nor obliterate them, lest I break My covenant with them by destroying them, for I am the Lord their God. I will remember them because of the covenant I made with their original ancestors, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, so that I might be their God." (Leviticus 26:44-45)
"Because the mountains may move and the hills may be shaken, but My love shall never move from you, nor My covenant of peace be shaken, said God, Who has compassion on you." (Isaiah 54:10)
"As for Me, this is My covenant with them, says God. My spirit, which rests upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouths of your children's children, says God, from now and forever." (Isaiah 59:21)
"Thus says God, Who establishes the sun to light the day, the laws of the moon and stars to light the night, Who stirs up the sea into roaring waves, Whose name is the Lord of Hosts: 'If these laws of nature would ever give way before Me,' says God, 'only then shall the offspring of Israel cease to be a nation before Me for all time.' " (Jeremiah 31:34-35)
"But fear not, O Jacob My servant, neither be dismayed, O Israel, because I shall redeem you from afar, and your children form the land of their captivity; and Jacob will again be quiet and at ease and none shall make him afraid. Fear not, O Jacob My servant, says God, for I am with you. For I will topple all the nations to which I have driven you. But of you I will not make a full end. I will correct you in just measure, but I will not utterly destroy you." (Jeremiah 46:27-28)
The story is told of King Louis XIV asking the philosopher Pascal for some proof of a supernatural force in the world. "Why..., the Jews, your majesty," replied Pascal, "the Jews."
Vayishlach, Genesis 32:4 - 36:43
On the trip back to Canaan, Jacob meets his brother Esau; Jacob wrestles with the angel. Then they arrive in Shechem; Shechem, the son of Chamor the Hivite, (heir to the town of Shechem) rapes Jacob's daughter, Dina; Dina's brothers, Shimon and Levy, massacre the men of Shechem; Rebecca (Rivka) dies; God gives Jacob an additional name, "Israel," and reaffirms the blessing to Avraham that the land of Canaan (Israel) will be given to his descendants; Rachel dies after giving birth to Benjamin (Binyomin); Jacob's 12 sons are listed; Isaac dies; Esau's lineage is recorded as is that of Seir the Horite; and lastly ... the succession of the Kings of Edom is chronicled.
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based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
The Torah states:
"And (Jacob) commanded (his messengers) saying: This is what you should say to my master, to Esau -- this is what your servant Jacob said: 'With Lavan I have dwelt and have been delayed until now" (Gen. 32:5).
What lesson can we learn from this?
The Ohr HaChayim explains that Jacob's intention in relating this to Esau was to show his brotherly love for him. When two people love each other, one shares with the other all the things that happened to him. This includes both the good things and the misfortunes. Sharing this information is a sign of closeness and for this reason Jacob told Esau about both the good and the bad that he had experienced.
This is an important principle for someone who wants to become close to another person. When you open up and share your life experiences, it helps develop friendship and closeness. It is possible to be acquainted with someone for many years without really knowing him. When you share personal information with others, you gain an emotional connection. While one must be careful not to relate information that would constitute loshon hora (gossip) or that could cause difficulties, a deep level of communication is a prerequisite for closeness.
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"Luck" is how some people spell God