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Parashah 8: Vayishlach (He sent) 32:4(3) –36:43

(3) Ya‘akov sent messengers ahead of him to ‘Esav his brother toward the land of Se‘ir, the country of Edom, (4) with these instructions: “Here is what you are to say to my lord ‘Esav: ‘Your servant Ya‘akov says, “I have been living with Lavan and have stayed until now. (5) I have cattle, donkeys and flocks, and male and female servants. I am sending to tell this news to my lord, in order to win your favor.” ’” (6) The messengers returned to Ya‘akov saying, “We went to your brother ‘Esav, and he is coming to meet you; with him are four hundred men.”

(7) Ya‘akov became greatly afraid and distressed. He divided the people, flocks, cattle and camels with him into two camps, (8) saying, “If ‘Esav comes to the one camp and attacks it, at least the camp that is left will escape.” 10 (9) Then Ya‘akov said, “God of my father Avraham and God of my father Yitz’chak, Adonai, who told me, ‘Return to your country and your kinsmen, and I will do you good’: 11 (10) I’m not worthy of all the love and faithfulness you have shown your servant, since I crossed the Yarden with only my staff. But now I have become two camps. 12 (11) Please! Rescue me from my brother ‘Esav! I’m afraid of him, afraid he’ll come and attack me, without regard for mothers or children. 13 (12) You said, ‘I will certainly do you good and make your descendants as numerous as the grains of sand by the sea, which are so many they can’t be counted.’”

(ii) 14 (13) He stayed there that night; then he chose from among his possessions the following as a present for ‘Esav his brother: 15 (14) two hundred female goats and twenty males, two hundred female sheep and twenty males, 16 (15) thirty milk-camels and their colts, forty cows and ten bulls, twenty female donkeys and ten colts. 17 (16) He turned them over to his servants, every drove by itself, and said to his servants, “Cross over in front of me, and keep a space between each drove and the next one.” 18 (17) He instructed the servant in front, “When ‘Esav my brother meets you and asks you, ‘Whose servant are you? Where are you going? And whose animals are these?’ 19 (18) then you are to say, ‘They belong to your servant Ya‘akov, and they are a present he has sent to my lord ‘Esav; and Ya‘akov himself is just behind us.’” 20 (19) He also instructed the second servant, and the third, and all that followed the droves, “When you encounter ‘Esav, you are to speak to him in the same way, 21 (20) and you are to add, ‘And there, just behind us, is your servant Ya‘akov.’” For he said, “I will appease him first with the present that goes ahead of me; then, after that, I will see him myself — and maybe he will be friendly toward me.” 22 (21) So the present crossed over ahead of him, and he himself stayed that night in the camp.

23 (22) He got up that night, took his two wives, his two slave-girls, and his eleven children, and forded the Yabok. 24 (23) He took them and sent them across the stream, then sent his possessions across; 25 (24) and Ya‘akov was left alone. Then some man wrestled with him until daybreak. 26 (25) When he saw that he did not defeat Ya‘akov, he struck Ya‘akov’s hip socket, so that his hip was dislocated while wrestling with him. 27 (26) The man said, “Let me go, because it’s daybreak.” But Ya‘akov replied, “I won’t let you go unless you bless me.” 28 (27) The man asked, “What is your name?” and he answered, “Ya‘akov.” 29 (28) Then the man said, “From now on, you will no longer be called Ya‘akov, but Isra’el; because you have shown your strength to both God and men and have prevailed.” 30 (29) Ya‘akov asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he answered, “Why are you asking about my name?” and blessed him there.

(iii) 31 (30) Ya‘akov called the place P’ni-El [face of God], “Because I have seen God face to face, yet my life is spared.” 32 (31) As the sun rose upon him he went on past P’ni-El, limping at the hip. 33 (32) This is why, to this day, the people of Isra’el do not eat the thigh muscle that passes along the hip socket — because the man struck Ya‘akov’s hip at its socket.

33 Ya‘akov raised his eyes and looked out; and there was ‘Esav coming, and four hundred men with him. So Ya‘akov divided the children between Le’ah, Rachel and the two slave-girls, putting the slave-girls and their children first, Le’ah and her children second, and Rachel and Yosef last. Then he himself passed on ahead of them and prostrated himself on the ground seven times before approaching his brother. ‘Esav ran to meet him, hugged him, threw his arms around his neck and kissed him; and they wept. Esav looked up; on seeing the women and children, he asked, “Who are these with you?” Ya‘akov answered, “The children God has graciously given to your servant.”

(iv) Then the slave-girls approached with their children, and they prostrated themselves; Le’ah too and her children approached and prostrated themselves; and last came Yosef and Rachel; and they prostrated themselves. ‘Esav asked, “What was the meaning of this procession of droves I encountered?” and he answered, “It was to win my lord’s favor.” ‘Esav replied, “I have plenty already; my brother, keep your possessions for yourself.” 10 Ya‘akov said, “No, please! If now I have won your favor, then accept my gift. Just seeing your face has been like seeing the face of God, now that you have received me. 11 So please accept the gift I have brought you, for God has dealt kindly with me and I have enough.” Thus he urged him, until he accepted it.

12 ‘Esav said, “Let’s break camp and get going. I’ll go first.” 13 Ya‘akov said to him, “My lord knows that the children are small, and the sheep and cattle suckling their young concern me, because if they overdrive them even one day, all the flocks will die. 14 Instead, please, let my lord go on ahead of his servant. I will travel more slowly, at the pace of the cattle ahead of me and at the pace of the children, until I come to my lord in Se‘ir.” 15 ‘Esav replied, “Then let me leave with you some of the people I have with me.” But Ya‘akov said, “There’s no need for my lord to be so kind to me.” 16 So ‘Esav left that day to return to Se‘ir. 17 Ya‘akov went on to Sukkot, where he built himself a house and put up shelters for his cattle. This is why the place is called Sukkot [shelters].

18 Having traveled from Paddan-Aram, Ya‘akov arrived safely at the city of Sh’khem, in Kena‘an, and set up camp near the city. 19 From the sons of Hamor Sh’khem’s father he bought for one hundred pieces of silver the parcel of land where he had pitched his tent. 20 There he put up an altar, which he called El-Elohei-Yisra’el [God, the God of Isra’el].

34 (v) One time Dinah the daughter of Le’ah, whom she had borne to Ya‘akov, went out to visit the local girls; and Sh’khem the son of Hamor the Hivi, the local ruler, saw her, grabbed her, raped her and humiliated her. But actually he was strongly attracted to Dinah the daughter of Ya‘akov; he fell in love with the girl and tried to win her affection. Sh’khem spoke with his father Hamor and said, “Get this girl for me; I want her to be my wife.”

When Ya‘akov heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter, his sons were with his livestock in the field; so Ya‘akov restrained himself until they came. Hamor the father of Sh’khem went out to Ya‘akov to speak with him just as Ya‘akov’s sons were coming in from the field. When they heard what had happened, the men were saddened and were very angry at the outrage this man had committed against Isra’el by raping Ya‘akov’s daughter, something that is simply not done. But Hamor said to them, “My son Sh’khem’s heart is set on your daughter. Please give her to him as his wife; and intermarry with us: give your daughters to us, and take our daughters for yourselves. 10 You will live with us, and the land will be available to you — you’ll live, do business and acquire possessions here.”

11 Then Sh’khem said to her father and brothers, “Only accept me, and I will give whatever you tell me. 12 Ask as large a bride-price as you like, I’ll pay whatever you tell me. Just let me marry the girl.” 13 The sons of Ya‘akov answered Sh’khem and Hamor his father deceitfully, because he had defiled Dinah their sister. 14 They said to them, “We can’t do it, because it would be a disgrace to give our sister to someone who hasn’t been circumcised. 15 Only on this condition will we consent to what you are asking: that you become like us by having every male among you get circumcised. 16 Then we’ll give our daughters to you, and we’ll take your daughters for ourselves, and we’ll live with you and become one people. 17 But if you won’t do as we say and get circumcised, then we’ll take our daughter and go away.” 18 What they said seemed fair to Hamor and Sh’khem the son of Hamor, 19 and the young man did not put off doing what was asked of him, even though he was the most respected member of his father’s family, because he so much wanted Ya‘akov’ s daughter.

20 Hamor and Sh’khem his son came to the entrance of their city and spoke with its leading men: 21 “These people are peaceful toward us; therefore let them live in the land and do business in it; for, as you can see, the land is large enough for them. Let us take their daughters as wives for ourselves, and we’ll give them our daughters. 22 But the people will consent to live with us and become one people only on this condition: that every male among us gets circumcised, as they themselves are circumcised. 23 Won’t their cattle, their possessions and all their animals be ours? Only let’s consent to do what they ask, and then they will live with us.” 24 Everyone going out the city’s gate listened to Hamor and Sh’khem his son; so every male was circumcised, every one that went out the gate of the city.

25 On the third day after the circumcision, when they were in pain, two of Ya‘akov’s sons, Shim‘on and Levi, Dinah’s brothers, took their swords, boldly descended on the city and slaughtered all the males. 26 They killed Hamor and Sh’khem his son with their swords, took Dinah out of Sh’khem’s house, and left. 27 Then the sons of Ya‘akov entered over the dead bodies of those who had been slaughtered and plundered the city in reprisal for defiling their sister. 28 They took their flocks, cattle and donkeys, and everything else, whether in the city or in the field, 29 everything they owned. Their children and wives they took captive, and they looted whatever was in the houses.

30 But Ya‘akov said to Shim‘on and Levi, “You have caused me trouble by making me stink in the opinion of the local inhabitants, the Kena‘ani and the P’rizi. Since I don’t have many people, they’ll align themselves together against me and attack me; and I will be destroyed, I and my household.” 31 They replied, “Should we let our sister be treated like a whore?”

35 God said to Ya‘akov, “Get up, go up to Beit-El and live there, and make there an altar to God, who appeared to you when you fled ‘Esav your brother.” Then Ya‘akov said to his household and all the others with him, “Get rid of the foreign gods that you have with you, purify yourselves, and put on fresh clothes. We’re going to move on and go up to Beit-El. There I will build an altar to God, who answered me when I was in such distress and stayed with me wherever I went.” They gave Ya‘akov all the foreign gods in their possession and the earrings they were wearing, and Ya‘akov buried them under the pistachio tree near Sh’khem. While they were traveling, a terror from God fell upon the cities around them, so that none of them pursued the sons of Ya‘akov.

Ya‘akov and all the people with him arrived at Luz (that is, Beit-El) in the land of Kena‘an. He built there an altar and called the place El-Beit-El [God of Beit-El], because it was there that God was revealed to him, at the time when he was fleeing from his brother.

Then D’vorah, Rivkah’s nurse, died. She was buried below Beit-El under the oak, which was given the name Alon-Bakhut [oak of weeping].

After Ya‘akov arrived from Paddan-Aram, God appeared to him again and blessed him. 10 God said to him, “Your name is Ya‘akov, but you will be called Ya‘akov no longer; your name will be Isra’el.” Thus he named him Isra’el. 11 God further said to him, “I am El Shaddai. Be fruitful and multiply. A nation, indeed a group of nations, will come from you; kings will be descended from you. (A: vi) 12 Moreover, the land which I gave to Avraham and Yitz’chak I will give to you, and I will give the land to your descendants after you.” 13 Then God went up from him there where he had spoken with him. (S: vi) 14 Ya‘akov set up a standing-stone in the place where he had spoken with him, a stone pillar. Then he poured out a drink offering on it and poured oil on it. 15 Ya‘akov called the place where God spoke with him Beit-El.

16 Then they traveled on from Beit-El, and while there was still some distance to go before arriving in Efrat, Rachel went into labor, and she had great difficulty with it. 17 While she was undergoing this hard labor, the midwife said to her, “Don’t worry, this is also a son for you.” 18 But she died in childbirth. As she was dying she named her son Ben-Oni [son of my grief], but his father called him Binyamin [son of the right hand, son of the south]. 19 So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Efrat (that is, Beit-Lechem). 20 Ya‘akov set up a standing-stone on her grave; it is the standing-stone of Rachel’s grave to this day.

21 Isra’el continued his travels and pitched his tent on the other side of Migdal-‘Eder. 22 It was while Isra’el was living in that land that Re’uven went and slept with Bilhah his father’s concubine, and Isra’el heard about it.

Ya‘akov had twelve sons. 23 The sons of Le’ah were Re’uven Ya‘akov’s firstborn, Shim‘on, Levi, Y’hudah, Yissakhar and Z’vulun. 24 The sons of Rachel were Yosef and Binyamin. 25 The sons of Bilhah Rachel’s slave-girl were Dan and Naftali. 26 And the sons of Zilpah Le’ah’s slave-girl were Gad and Asher. These were Ya‘akov’s sons, born to him in Paddan-Aram.

27 Ya‘akov came home to his father Yitz’chak at Mamre, near Kiryat-Arba (also known as Hevron), where Avraham and Yitz’chak had lived as foreigners. 28 Yitz’chak lived to be 180 years old. 29 Then he breathed his last, died and was gathered to his people, an old man full of years; and his sons ‘Esav and Ya‘akov buried him.

36 This is the genealogy of ‘Esav (that is, Edom). ‘Esav chose Kena‘ani women as his wives: ‘Adah the daughter of Eilon the Hitti; Oholivamah the daughter of ‘Anah the daughter of Tziv‘on the Hivi; and Basmat Yishma‘el’s daughter, sister of N’vayot. ‘Adah bore to ‘Esav Elifaz, Basmat bore Re‘u’el, and Oholivamah bore Ye‘ush, Ya‘lam and Korach. These were the sons of ‘Esav born to him in the land of Kena‘an.

‘Esav took his wives, his sons and daughters, the others in his household, his cattle and other animals and everything else he owned, which he had acquired in the land of Kena‘an, and went off to a country distant from his brother Ya‘akov. For their possessions had become too great for them to live together, and the countryside through which they were traveling couldn’t support so much livestock. So ‘Esav lived in the hill-country of Se‘ir. (‘Esav is Edom.)

This is the genealogy of ‘Esav the father of Edom in the hill-country of Se‘ir. 10 The names of ‘Esav’s sons were Elifaz, son of ‘Adah the wife of ‘Esav, and Re‘u’el the son of Basmat the wife of ‘Esav.

11 The sons of Elifaz were Teman, Omar, Tzefo, Ga‘tam and K’naz. 12 Timnah was the concubine of Elifaz ‘Esav’s son, and she bore to Elifaz ‘Amalek. These were the descendants of ‘Adah ‘Esav’s wife.

13 The sons of Re‘u’el were Nachat, Zerach, Shammah and Mizah. These were the sons of Basmat ‘Esav’s wife.

14 These were the sons of Oholivamah, the daughter of ‘Anah the daughter of Tziv‘on, ‘Esav’s wife: she bore to ‘Esav Ye‘ush, Ya‘lam and Korach.

15 The chieftains of the sons of ‘Esav were the sons of Elifaz the firstborn of ‘Esav and the chieftains of Teman, Omar, Tzefo, K’naz, 16 Korach, Ga‘tam and ‘Amalek. These were the chieftains descended from Elifaz in Edom and from ‘Adah.

17 The sons of Re‘u’el ‘Esav’s son were the chieftains of Nachat, Zerach, Shammah and Mizah. These were the chieftains descended from Re‘u’el in the land of Edom and from Basmat ‘Esav’s wife.

18 The sons of Oholivamah ‘Esav’s wife were the chieftains of Ye‘ush, Ya‘lam and Korach. These were the chieftains descended from Oholivamah the daughter of ‘Anah, ‘Esav’s wife.

19 These were the descendants of ‘Esav (that is, Edom), and these were their chieftains.

(vii) 20 These were the descendants of Se‘ir the Hori, the local inhabitants: Lotan, Shoval, Tziv‘on, ‘Anah, 21 Dishon, Etzer and Dishan. They were the chieftains descended from the Hori, the people of Se‘ir in the land of Edom. 22 The sons of Lotan were Hori and Hemam; Lotan’s sister was Timnah. 23 The sons of Shoval were ‘Alvan, Manachat, ‘Eival, Sh’fo and Onam. 24 The sons of Tziv‘on were Ayah and ‘Anah. This is the ‘Anah who found the hot springs in the desert while pasturing his father Tziv‘on’s donkeys. 25 The children of ‘Anah were Dishon and Oholivamah the daughter of ‘Anah. 26 The sons of Dishon were Hemdan, Eshban, Yitran and K’ran. 27 The sons of Etzer were Bilhan, Za‘avan and ‘Akan. 28 The sons of Dishan were ‘Utz and Aran. 29 These were the chieftains descended from the Hori: the chieftains of Lotan, Shoval, Tziv‘on, ‘Anah, 30 Dishon, Etzer and Dishan. They were the chieftains descended from the Hori by their clans in Se‘ir.

31 Following are the kings who reigned in the land of Edom before any king had reigned over the people of Isra’el. 32 Bela the son of B‘or reigned in Edom; the name of his city was Dinhavah. 33 When Bela died, Yovav the son of Zerach from Botzrah reigned in his place. 34 When Yovav died, Husham from the land of the Temani reigned in his place. 35 When Husham died, Hadad the son of B’dad, who killed Midyan in the field of Mo’av, reigned in his place; the name of his city was ‘Avit. 36 When Hadad died, Samlah of Masrekah reigned in his place. 37 When Samlah died, Sha’ul of Rechovot-by-the-River reigned in his place. 38 When Sha’ul died, Ba‘al-Chanan the son of ‘Akhbor reigned in his place. 39 When Ba‘al-Chanan died, Hadar reigned in his place; the name of his city was Pa’u; and his wife’s name was M’heitav’el the daughter of Matred the daughter of Mei-Zahav.

(Maftir) 40 These are the names of the chieftains descended from ‘Esav, according to their clans, places and names: the chieftains of Timna, ‘Alvah, Y’tet, 41 Oholivamah, Elah, Pinon, 42 Kenaz, Teman, Mivtzar, 43 Magdi’el and ‘Iram. These were the chieftains of Edom according to their settlements in the land they owned. This is ‘Esav the father of Edom.

Haftarah Vayishlach: Hoshea (Hosea) 11:7–12:12(11) (A); ‘Ovadyah (Obadiah) 1–21 (S)

B’rit Hadashah suggested readings for Parashah Vayishlach: 1 Corinthians 5:1–13; Revelation 7:1–12

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