Commentary on Parashat Vayishlach, Genesis 32:4 - 36:43
Provided by the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, exploring through the original sources.
1. When the messengers returned to Jacob after going out to see Esau, they told him that Esau had 400 men. Jacob was frightened. He said, “I have been diminished by all the kindnesses and by the truth that You have done to Your servant.” What did he mean by “diminished”?
2. After Jacob wrestled with the angel, the angel asked what his name was. Then what did the angel tell Jacob?
3. What did Jacob call the place where he wrestled with the angel? What does the name mean?
4. When Jacob saw Esau coming, in what order did he place his family?
5. What was Jacob’s reaction to the slaughter perpetrated by Simeon and Levi?
6. Rachel died and was buried along the way to what present-day town?
7. What is the significant issue about Isaac’s burial?
8. What previous event does Esau’s leaving the land with his family parallel?
9. What was Esau’s other name?
10. According to the parashah, what role did Rebekah play in the return of Jacob to Canaan?
1. According to Nahmanides Jacob meant that he never believed he had been worthy of all God had done for him. Others suggest that Jacob might have sinned since God made His promises to him and that Esau would, therefore, prevail over him.
2. The angel told Jacob, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel. You have striven with the divine and the human and have overcome (32:29).”
3. Jacob called the place Peniel, meaning I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved (32:31).
4. When Jacob saw Esau coming he placed the handmaids first, then Leah and her children, and finally, Rachel and Joseph. (33:2).
5. Jacob believed that their deed would make him odious in the eyes of the inhabitants of the land (34:30).
6. Rachel died and was buried near Efrat (35:16-19).
7. Esau and Jacob buried him together (35:29).
8. Esau’s leaving the land parallels the separation of Abraham and Lot (36:6).
9. Esau’s other name was Edom (36:8).
10. According the parashah Rebekah played no role.
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Pronunced: TORE-uh, Origin: Hebrew, the Five Books of Moses.