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Parashat Vayishlach

Updated: Feb 10

8th Portion

[26 Nov - 2 Dec 2022]

Theme of the Book of Genesis:

Desire for life, to choose life and to create!

Meaning of "vayishlach" = "and He sent"

This week's Torah portions:

Sunday: Genesis 32:4-13

Monday: Genesis 32:14-30

Tuesday: Genesis 32:31-33:5

Wednesday: Genesis 33:6-20

Thursday: Genesis 34:1-35:11

Friday: Genesis 35:12-36:19

Shabbat: Genesis 36:20-43 & Obadiah 1:1-21

Apostolic Writings:

Matthew 26:36-46

Hebrews 11:11-20

Daily Bread for Busy Moms portions:

1 Samuel 2-9

Psalms 44-49

Mark 4-6

In this portion we read that Jacob returned to Canaan. The first portion of Genesis it's about Abba's perfect plan. The seven portions following (portions 2-8), links with the seven days of Creation. This is the 8th parashat but the 7th one that links with the days of Creation. The 7th day of Creation is the Sabbath. And thus this parashat links with entering rest! Jacob entered into his rest when he returned to Canaan.

When Jacob returned to Canaan he sent his messengers to Esau - to see if they can make peace. Remember that Jacob fled from home after Isaac had bestowed the firstborn blessing upon him and Esau wanted to kill him. Years have since passed in which he and Esau didn't have any contact as far as we could tell from Scripture. Jacob's messengers returns and informs Jacob that Esau did not receive the message very well about Jacob's return and that he is preparing for war. In return Jacob also started to prepare for battle but he also prays. Jacob also sent gifts to Esau in an attempt to soften his heart.

Jacob sent his entire family to safety and he remained there, where he had the encountering with an angel. We read in Scripture that Jacob had wrestled with the angel and the angel gave him a blow to his hip, which dislocated Jacob's hip. The angel told him that he would now be called Israel, and no longer Jacob.

I always thought the bit about the dislocated hip was completely irrelevant. But then I learned the symbolic meaning behind it all from Kol Kallah's teachings. It teaches us that all those things in life which we don't really want to face - unresolved issues, broken relationships, past quarrels - it's always best to face it in brokenness. Jacob then met Esau in his brokenness - when they saw one another they embraced each other. Esau asked Jacob who the people was that was with him - and Jacob told him that it was his family that God have blessed him with.

After they reconciled, they both went their separate ways. Jacob then bought a piece of land. And the owner of the land's son then abducted and raped Jacob's daughter, Dina. Simeon & Levi, Dina's brother, decided to kill all the men in the city (not their family). Jacob then later on moves away from that land as he was on this journey of entering his rest. We aslo read in this parashat that Rachel died when she gave birth to their second son, Benjamin. She was buried close to Bethlehem. We also read about Reuben, Leah's son, who slept with one of Jacob's concubines. When Jacob found out about that, he disinherited Reuben from his firstborn right. Jacob then arrives at Isaac, his father's house. And Isaac dies of old age. Rebecca had already passed away before Jacob returned.

The theme of this parashat revolves around rest! After sojourning for so many years, Jacob (now Israel) returns to his land and finds rest. We also see that Esau who carried the hatred towards Jacob for so many years also finds rest and reconciliated with his brother. Esau also entered his place of rest, the land that he would be able to rest in.

This entire parashat is about being able to enter into your rest. Linking perfectly with the 7th day of Creation. We can learn from this parashat that we can only enter our rest once we have dealt with all the issues from the past. We need to let go of all the things that took away our peace. We need to face our past if we want to regain our peace.

Jacob had to reconcile with his brother because he felt that he betrayed his brother. And Esau had to reconcile with Jacob because he felt betrayed by Jacob. There is no rest when there is no reconciliation. If you want to get to a place of rest - you need to deal with your past. There's no way around it.

The Israelites couldn't enter their Promised Land (rest) because they were not willing to deal with their past. They were not willing to let go of their slave mentality. We are exactly the same. We need to deal with the issues in our lives - physical & spiritual - in order for us to get to a place of rest.

Jacob sent Esau a whole lot of livestock - because he thought that Esau would expect it from him. As the livestock was part of the abundance of the firstborn inheritance in which Jacob lived. When in fact Esau didn't expect that from him. We can lean from this portion that reconciliation never comes from doing the things we think people expect from us. Everyone in life has lost something. Everyone in life faces their own battles and have their own perceptions. As long as we are reacting to our losses, we will never have reconciliation. We will never be able to have peace and thus not be able to enter our rest.

We should thus get to a place in our lives where we are willing to say: I want to confront the issue, I want to make peace, I want to do what is needed so that I can be able to enter into my rest! We can do all the prophetic gestures of entering our rest, but if we fail to confront our past - we will never enter our rest!

Entering your place of rest is about knowing that I have nothing in my heart against anyone and no one has anything in their heart against me. Because I have faced the past and reconciled where necessary. It's about getting to the point where you make decisions in life based on your future and not based on your past. If you haven't dealt with your past you won't be able to do it.

From this week's New Testament readings we are reminded that many (most) of the people we read about in the Bible didn't know what the future held. But they decided to trust God and stand on His promises over their lives. But that's not all that they did. While they were waiting for their promises to go into fulfilment - they also did their part. That's what faith is all about! On of the things they had to do was to face their past before they could enter their rest.

Jacob heard that Esau had 400 men with him when he was on his way to meet up with Jacob. Jacob thought that Esau was going to kill him. But regardless of that he kept going because he stood on the promise God gave him! If that doesn't put things into perspective for you, I don't know what will!

We need to continue trusting God even when we are facing bad circumstances or receive bad news. We need to trust God no matter what we are facing! Yeshua (Jesus) was the perfect example of that! We have to submit ourselves to the will of God and trust in Him, knowing that He already know the outcome of every situation we might face!

Vayishlach, this week's portion means "and He sent / sends"... Thus we need to be willing to go wherever God sends us because we trust Him! And that includes our willingness to face our past so that we can enter into our rest!


If you are new here, you can follow the Torah portions with us every week!

(Simply click on the one you want to read)

  1. Portion 1: Bereshit

  2. Portion 2: Noach

  3. Portion 3: Lech Lecha

  4. Portion 4: Vayera

  5. Portion 5: Chayei Sarah

  6. Portion 6: Toldot

  7. Portion 7: Vayetzei

  8. Portion 8: Vayishlach (This blog you are reading now)

  9. Portion 9: Vayeshev

  10. Portion 10: Miketz

  11. Portion 11: Vayigash

  12. Portion 12: Vayechi

  13. Portion 13: Shemot

  14. Portion 14: Vaera

  15. Portion 15: Bo

  16. Portion 16: Beshalach

  17. Portion 17: Yitro

  18. Portion 18: Mishpatim

  19. Portion 19: Terumah

  20. Portion 20: Tetzaveh

  21. Portion 21: Ki Tisa

  22. Portion 22: Vayakhel & Pekudei

  23. Portion 23: Vayikra

  24. Portion 24: Tzav

  25. Portion 25: Shmini

  26. Portion 26: Tazria / Metzora

  27. Portion 27: Achrei Mot / Kedoshim

  28. Portion 28: Emor

  29. Portion 29: Behar / Bechukotai

  30. Portion 30: Bamidbar

  31. Portion 31: Nasso

  32. Portion 32: Beha'alotcha

  33. Portion 33: Sh'lach

  34. Portion 34: Korach

  35. Portion 35: Chukat / Balak

  36. Portion 36: Pinchas

  37. Portion 37: Matot / Masei

  38. Portion 38: Devarim

  39. Portion 39: Vaetchanan

  40. Portion 40: Eikev

  41. Portion 41: Re'eh

  42. Portion 42: Shoftim

  43. Portion 43: Ki Teitzei

  44. Portion 44: Ki Tavo

  45. Portion 45: Nitzavim / Vayeilech

  46. Portion 46: Ha'Azinu

  47. Portion 47: Vezot Haberakhah

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