Yacov returns to the Holy Land after a 20-year stay in Charan, and sends angel-emissaries to Esav in hope of a reconciliation, but his messengers report that his brother is on the warpath with 400 armed men. Yacov prepares for war, prays, and sends Esav a large gift (consisting of hundreds of heads of livestock) to appease him.
That night, Yacov ferries his family and possessions across the Yabok River; he, however, remains behind and encounters the angel that embodies the spirit of Esav, with whom he wrestles until daybreak. Yacov suffers a dislocated hip but vanquishes the supernal creature, who bestows on him the name Yisroel, which means “he who prevails over the divine.”
Yacov and Esav meet, embrace and kiss, but part ways. Yacov purchases a plot of land near Shchem, whose crown prince—also called Shchem—abducts and violates Yacov’s daughter Dinah. Dinah’s brothers Shimon and Levi avenge the deed by killing all male inhabitants of the city, after rendering them vulnerable by convincing them to circumcise themselves.
Yacov journeys on. Rachel dies while giving birth to her second son Binyamin, and is buried in a roadside grave near Beth lehem. Reuven loses the birthright because he interferes with his father’s marital life. Yacov arrives in Chebron, to his father Yitzchak, who later dies at age 180. (Rivka has passed away before Yacov’s arrival.)
Our Parshah concludes with a detailed account of Esav’s wives, children and grandchildren; the family histories of the people of Seier, among whom Esav settled; and a list of the eight kings who ruled Edom, the land of Esav’s and Seir’s descendants.
Dvar Torah-Customized Yetzer Hora
After the battle with the angel, Yaakov asks him, ‘Tell me now your name.’ He replied, ‘Why do you ask about my name?’ He then blessed him there”. After a vigorous fight fight with a spiritual angel, Yaakov should have left and gone home. Why was he curious to know the angel’s name?
The Rabbi’s teach,, this spiritual being was Eisav’s guardian angel, otherwise known as the yetzer horah. Yaakov wanted to know his name, because by knowing his name, he can understand the nature of the yetzer horah . The angel never gave over his name.
Rav Pincus said that the ‘no-answer’ really was an answer. The yetzer horah answered him, “I have no true name”; I switch my name periodically. In the era of the First Beis HaMikdash, I was called idolatry. In the Second Beis HaMikdash, I as called ‘sinas chinam’ (baseless hatred), in the era of the Rishonim (Rashi, Rambam, etc…), I was called Greek philosophy. Later on, I was called the Haskalah (Enlightenment), Socialism, Communism, etc…Today its probably technology….. I will always be around in some form or another. “There is no way to be rid of me”
Everybody has their own yetzer horah disguising himself under different names. However, it’s true that today, the distractions of life have become our mainstay, while our Torah and our avodas Hashem have become secondary, at most.
May we all learn the names of our yetzer horah, and by knowing his nature, find our way to true avodas Hashem.
Have a great Shabbos!