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| Published: November 16, 2021
In this week’s portion, Jacob prepares to face his brother after many years apart, cognizant of Esau’s vow to destroy him one day. He readies his camp and prays, and sends gifts to appease his brother. Before the encounter, Jacob struggles with an angel who blesses him and gives him a new name. When Jacob finally meets up with Esau, the reunion is more positive than he had hoped.
Jacob settles in the land of his fathers, but tragedy mars the experience, as his daughter Dinah is raped in Shechem. His sons avenge her violation, much to their father’s consternation. Ultimately, Jacob returns to his father before Isaac’s death. The portion closes with an accounting of Esau’s family tree.
Topic 1: Haftarah – A Holocaust Refuge on Mount Zion
As the situation for European Jewry began to deteriorate, the Chofetz Chaim was asked in 1933 about the fate of the Jewish people. As recorded by one of his close disciples, the revered rabbi answered, “Hitler shall fail! No one has ever succeeded in destroying our nation in the lands of our dispersion. The verse…
Topic 2: Weekly Torah Portion: The Trouble with Zealotry
Jacob is torn between two values – the desire to live in peace and be accepted by the local inhabitants, and the desire to defend the honor of his daughter and of his family. This week’s portion tells of Jacob’s return to the Land of Canaan, beginning with his encounter with Esau, then with the…
Topic 3: A Taste of Torah Cookbook Brings Weekly Portion to Life for Parents and Kids
Harkov whips up some Torah treats with kids. [Photo: Courtesy] Aviv Harkov, a 22-year old former Israeli Naval Officer, grew up in New Jersey and has always had a passion for cooking. Now, she has parleyed that passion into a unique cookbook for parents and children, one that teaches Jewish values…
Topic 4: Preparing to Meet Esau
Jacob sends messengers ahead to his brother to alert Esau that he is coming home. The messengers return with an ominous report: Esau is coming out to greet him with four hundred men! To prepare for the potentially hostile encounter, Jacob divides his camp into two groups, so that if one is attacked, at…
Topic 5: Jacob’s Return Home and Esau’s Family Tree
God now tells Jacob he should fulfil his early promise and return to build an altar at Beit El. Jacob prepares his household, stripping members of vestiges of idolatry and burying them in Shechem. The family then travels unmolested towards Beit El, as God has extended His protection over them. The Torah notes that…