30 Nov Rabbi Hillel Skolnik’s Torah Spark for Parashat Vayishlach 5778 – Weekend of December 2, 2017
This Shabbat we read from Parashat Vayishlach in which we learn of the reconciliation between two brothers – Yaakov and Eisav – who had not seen each other for more than twenty years. The last time they had been together, Yaakov had stolen his father’s blessing from Eisav who reacted by threatening to kill Yaakov. And even now, after the passage of all this time, Yaakov still fears for his own safety and that of his children. The Torah sets us up for a huge showdown between the two with Eisav and his 400 men approaching Yaakov armed only with his wives and children. But much to our surprise, Eisav sees Yaakov bowing to him, gets off his horse and runs to greet Yaakov with hugs, kisses and much weeping. It seems clear that in the intervening years, Yaakov learned that humility before his slightly older brother was called for, and Eisav gained the perspective he needed to forgive his slightly younger brother. Hopefully, we can all learn from the actions of both brothers to have both the humility and the perspective that is often necessary in ending arguments with people we love. Although Yaakov’s life was far from peaceful from that point forward, he endured no more strife with his brother, a fact which surely brought him comfort in other troubled times.
Rabbi Hillel Skolnik