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B'resheet/Genesis Vayishlach 32:4–36:43

The name of the Parshah, "Vayishlach," means "And he sent" and it is found in Genesis 32:4.

Jacob returns to the Holy Land after a 20-year stay in Charan, and sends angel-emissaries to Esau in hope of a reconciliation, but his messengers report that his brother is on the warpath with 400 armed men. Jacob prepares for war, prays, and sends Esau a large gift (consisting of hundreds of heads of livestock) to appease him.

Jacob Wrestles with God
While the servants were bringing Jacob’s gifts to Esau, Jacob moved his wife and children to yet another camp. Jacob was left alone in camp and someone wrestled with him until the break of day. When the one that wrestled with Jacob saw that it was impossible to win, that one touched the upper joint of Jacob’s thigh and it was dislocated.
Then the one that was fighting against Jacob said, “Let me go for day is breaking.”
But Jacob responded, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
“What is your name?” asked the wrestler.
“Then your name shall no longer be Jacob but Israel, for in prevailing in this fight you have become the commanding power before God and men.”
The one that wrestled Jacob would not give a name, but did bless Jacob. Jacob then named the place Peniel: “For I have seen the Divine face to face and my character has remained intact.” Then Jacob limped away.

Jacob and Esau meet, embrace and kiss, but part ways. Jacob purchases a plot of land near Shechem, whose crown prince—also called Shechem—abducts and rapes Jacob’s daughter Dinah. Dinah’s brothers Simeon and Levi avenge the deed by killing all male inhabitants of the city, after rendering them vulnerable by convincing them to circumcise themselves.

Jacob journeys on. Rachel dies while giving birth to her second son, Benjamin, and is buried in a roadside grave near Bethlehem. Reuben loses the birthright because he interferes with his father’s marital life. Jacob arrives in Hebron, to his father Isaac, who later dies at age 180. (Rebecca has passed away before Jacob’s arrival.)

Our Parshah concludes with a detailed account of Esau’s wives, children and grandchildren; the family histories of the people of Seir, among whom Esau settled; and a list of the eight kings who ruled Edom, the land of Esau’s and Seir’s descendants.

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