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Parshah Vayishlach wrap-up

So I get to shul for Parshah Vayishlach (Gen 32:4-36:43), all ready to talk about Dinah, which for my money is one of the five most disturbing stories in the Torah, and I discover that the sixth grade kids from the Hebrew School have come to help lead services. Which is nice, and all, but we talked about Esau.

There were some interesting points raised, which I hadn’t considered before. One of the eleven-year-old girls pointed out that lots of twins strongly try to make their own, individual identity, rather than the one-of-twins identity, accounting perhaps for Jacob’s preference for staying in agribusiness and Esau’s preference for his military career, rather than trying to merge the two. One of the women pointed out the point that when Jacob and Esau do manage to have a meeting without fighting, their parents aren’t any part of it. It’s easy to imagine Isaac sending messages to the two of them trying to get them reconciled, but hard to imagine that working.

Lastly, somebody mentioned that this event must have been really memorable for the boys (eleven of them there, going before Jacob to Esau). Later on, both before Egypt and in Egypt, it will be interesting to look back on their memories of this incident, and how those play out. Next week is Vayeishev, with the brothers’ plot to kill Joseph, a couple of dirty stories about Tamar and about Potiphar’s wife, and Joseph’s dream prophecies.

Thank you,
-Vardibidian.