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Parashat Chayeh Sarah
Verses: 105 [Siman:יהוידע ]
Haftorah: Kings 1 1:1-31
Number of Mitzvot:
There are no Positive or Negative commands mentioned in Parashat Chayeh Sarah.
- Sarah passes away:
- Sarah was 127 years old upon her passing.
- Sarah passed away in Kiryat Araba, in Hebron.
- Abraham mourned over her passing and came to eulogize her.
- Abraham purchases the Cave of Machpelah and buries Sarah:
- Abraham approaches the sons of Hes to purchase the Cave of Machpelah. The sons of Hes reply that he can bury Sarah wherever he wishes, without any protest.
- Abraham bows to them [as a sign of greeting] and kindly rejects their offer. He asks to meet with the land owner of the Cave of Machpelah, Ephron the Hittite, in order to purchase it from him for its full price.
- Ephron offers the field as a gift: Ephron offers Abraham to take the entire field, including the cave, as a present from him, without payment. Abraham once again kindly rejects the offer and asks to purchase the field for its full price. Ephron offers Abraham to purchase the land for 400 Shekel Kesef.
- Abraham paid Ephron 400 silver Shekel of the best currency.
The fields, and its cave, and all its trees now belong to Abraham. Its sale was witnessed by all of the sons of Hes. Abraham then buried his wife Sara in the Cave of Machpelah, which is in Hebron.
- Abraham appoints Eliezer to find a wife for his son Isaac:
- Abraham was old and was blessed with everything.
- Abraham asked his servant Eliezer to place his hand under his thigh and swear that he would not take for his son Isaac as a wife, a woman from Canaan, and that rather he will take for him a wife from Abraham’s family.
- Eliezer asks Abraham if he should bring Isaac to his birthplace, in the event that the girl does not want to come to live in Eretz Canaan. Abraham replies with a stern warning to Eliezer that he is not to bring Isaac to his birthplace, and that G-d will send his angel before him to help him succeed in bringing back a wife for Isaac. If, however, you should prove unsuccessful, nevertheless, do not bring Isaac to that land.
- Eliezer placed his hand under Abraham’s thigh and swore to fulfill his request.
- The journey of Eliezer and the meeting of Rebecca by the well:
- Eliezer took with him ten camels and all the possessions of his master, and he travelled to Aram Naharayim, the city of Nahor.
- By the approach of evening, upon arrival to the outskirts of the city, Eliezer kneeled the camels onto the ground, near the well. This was at the time that the people came to the well to draw water.
- The prayer of Eliezer: Eliezer prayed to G-d, asking Him to assist him in his mission, and to arrange that the woman who would volunteer to give him and his camels to drink would be the one chosen to be the wife of Isaac.
- Rebecca: As he finished speaking, Rebecca, the daughter of Bethuel, who was the nephew of Abraham, came out with a bucket of water. Rebecca was very pretty, and was still a virgin, not having been with any man.
- Rebecca draws water: She proceeded to draw water from the well, and Eliezer ran towards her, asking her to give him some water to drink. Rebecca gave him to drink and then went ahead and gave his camels to drink until satiation. She went numerous times to the well to give all the camels water. Eliezer was astounded, waiting to see if his mission was accomplished or not.
- The presents given to Rebecca: When the camels finished drinking, he went ahead and gave Rebecca gold nose rings and two gold bracelets.
- Asking to be hosted: He asked Rebecca who her family is and if they can host him. She replied that she is the daughter of Bethuel, Son of Milcah and Nahor and that they have room to host him and his camels, and they have food for them all.
- Eliezer bowed to G-d.
- Eliezer thanks G-d for doing kindness for his master Abraham.
- Rebecca ran to her mother and told her what happened.
- In the house of Bethuel:
- Laban: Rebecca’s brother, Laban, ran to greet Eliezer upon seeing the jewelry that Eliezer gave her and hearing the story that she had to say. Laban invited Eliezer and his camels to come into their home. Laban gave food to the camels, and gave water for Eliezer and his men to wash their feet.
- Eliezer recounts the story: They offered Eliezer a meal, but he refused to eat until he told his story. Eliezer told them that he is the servant of Abraham, who is very wealthy, and he had a son to whom he has given all of his possessions, for whom he sent me to find him a wife. Eliezer went on to retell the whole purpose of his travel and the prayer he said to G-d, and the ensuing episode.
- Asking permission to take Rebecca: After telling them the story, Eliezer asked if they agree to give him Rebecca, otherwise he will look elsewhere to find a wife for Isaac. Laban and Bethuel replied that they agree, as it is not in their hands, but in the hands of G-d.
- More presents given to Rebecca and family: Eliezer took out gold and silver vessels and gave it to Rebecca, and gave presents to her brother and mother.
- Traveling back to marry Isaac:
- Rebecca leaves home with Eliezer: They ate and drank and in the morning Eliezer asked to be sent off. They replied that they wanted Rebecca to remain with them for some more time. Eliezer would not agree and asked for her to be sent off with him immediately. They asked Rebecca as to her opinion of going so suddenly and she acquiesced. They blessed Rebecca before she left that she should give birth to a great nation and overcome their enemies, and off they went on their journey.
- Isaac meets Rebecca: In the meantime, Isaac had returned from a journey of his own and went to pray in the field. He lifted his eyes and saw camels coming towards him. Rebecca also lifted her eyes and saw Isaac, and she descended from the camel and asked who the man is. Eliezer replied that it is his master Isaac. Rebecca then placed a kerchief over her face. Eliezer told Isaac all that had occurred.
- Isaac and Rebecca get married: Isaac marries Rebecca, loves her, and receives comfort for the death of his mother.
- Abraham marries Keturah:
- Abraham marries Keturah and has six sons: Zimran, Yakshan, Medan, Midian, Yishbak, Shuach.
- Abraham inherits all his property to Isaac but gives presents to the children of Keturah.
- Abraham passes away:
- Abraham passes away at age 175, at a good old age.
- Isaac and Ishmael bury him in the Cave of Machpelah.
- G-d blesses Isaac after Abraham’s passing.
- The descendants of Ishmael:
- The verse lists the descendants of Ishmael.
- Ishmael had a total of 12 sons.
- Ishmael passed away at age 137.
- They lived all together between Havilah and Shur, near Egypt.
Verses: 106 [Siman:עלו ]
Haftorah: Malachi 1 1:1-2:7
Number of Mitzvot:
There are no Positive or Negative commands mentioned in Parashat Toldot.
- The birth of Jacob and Esau:
- Abraham fathered Isaac. Isaac was 40 years old when he married Rebecca.
- Rebecca’s pregnancy: Rebecca was barren, and Isaac prayed for her to have a child, and Rebecca conceived. The fetuses were kicking inside of her womb and she went to search for G-d to find an answer to this phenomenon. G-d told her that she is carrying the heads of two nations, and the older one will serve the younger one.
- The birth: Rebecca gave birth to twins. The first child came out a red head, full of hair, and he was named Esau. The next child came out grasping the heal of the first son, and he was named Jacob. Isaac was 60 years old at the time.
- The kids grow up: The lads grew older, and Esau was a man of the field, a hunter, while Jacob was a simple man who sat in the tent of study. Isaac loved Esau, his hunter, while Rebecca loved Jacob.
- Esau sells his birthright:
- Elisa came back from the field exhausted and encountered his brother Jacob who had cooked a pot of lentils. Esau asked to be fed the pot of lentils, as he is very exhausted. Jacob agreed on condition that Esau sell him the birthright.
- Esau agreed to the deal, claiming the firstborn obligations can be deadly, and it is thus a worthwhile exchange. Esau swore to Jacob and in exchange Jacob fed him bread and the lentils. Esau despised the right of the firstborn.
- The famine:
- There was a famine in the land, and Isaac moved to the area of Abimelech.
- G-d told Isaac not to descend to Egypt and to remain in the land that he is in.
- G-d blesses Isaac with the blessings he gave Abraham, in merit of the fact that Abraham kept all of his Mitzvot.
- Isaac moves to the city of Abimelech:
- Isaac remained in Gerar, the land of Abimelech.
- Rebecca’s identity is disguised and then discovered: Upon being questioned by the city residents, Isaac replied that his wife Rebecca is really his sister, as she was very beautiful. After some time, Abimelech the king saw Isaac being intimate with his wife Rebecca. Abimelech confronted Isaac with his discovery, and complained that he was lied to about her being Isaac’s sister and not his wife. This could have caused the king to sin. Isaac replied that he felt no choice but to lie, as he feared for his life. Abimelech warned the public that anyone who lays hand on Isaac or his wife will be put to death.
- The blessing in the crop: Isaac plowed and planted the fields, and that year it produced one hundred-fold of produce.
- Isaac became very prosperous. He had flocks of cattle and sheep, which drew the jealousy of the Philistines.
- The sabotaging of the wells: All the wells that were dug by the servants of Abraham were filled with earth by the Philistines.
- Isaac is expelled: Abimelech asks Isaac to leave his land, as he has become too prosperous. Isaac proceeded to move to Nahal Gerar.
- The wells:
- Re-digging the old wells: Isaac re-dug the wells that were dug by his father, and closed up by the Philistines, and he named them the same names that his father had named.
- The controversy on the new wells: They also dug a new well, and fresh water was found, which resulted in a dispute between the shepherds of Isaac and that of Gerar, each one claiming the water is his. Due to this dispute, the well was named Esek, which means to fight. Isaac dug another well, which also resulted in a fight, and it was thus named Sitnah, or harassment.
- The well of peace: They moved from there and dug a third well, which did not result in a quarrel, and it was thus named Rehovot, being that G-d made space for them and provided them with plenty on the land.
- Isaac moves:
- From there, Isaac moved to Beer Sheva. G-d appeared to Isaac and blessed him.
- Building an altar and another well: Isaac built an altar there, and encamped there, digging another well.
- The pact with Abimelech:
- Abimelech, and his general Fichol, came from Geror to greet Isaac and make a peace treaty with him, being that they saw G-d was with him.
- Isaac made a feast for them, and the next day they swore into the pact. Abimelech then departed back home.
- The wells of Beer Sheva: The servants of Isaac informed him that the new wells which were dug are flowing with water. The wells were named Shibah, and thus from there the city received the name Beer Sheva, until this very day.
- The wives of Esau:
- At 40 years old Esau married Yehudis the daughter of a Hittite and Basmas the daughter of a Hittite. These wives caused suffering to Isaac and Rebecca.
- The blessings-Isaac blesses Jacob who impersonates Esau:
- Isaac instructs Esau to prepare to be blessed: When Isaac became old, and his eyes had weakened, and he feared his days were coming, he asked for Esau to come before him, desiring to give him the blessings. Isaac asked Esau to first hunt for him a meal and make it into a delicacy and serve him the food. He will then bless him prior to his death.
- Rebecca instructs Jacob to impersonate Esau: Rebecca, who was positioned nearby, heard what Isaac asked of Esau, and Esau proceeded to do as he was asked. Rebecca informed Jacob about what Isaac had instructed Esau, and asked him to do as he instructs him. Rebecca asked Jacob to take for her two goats and she will prepare them into a delicacy, as his father enjoys. “You will then take the delicacy to your father, and he will eat, and bless you prior to his death.” Jacob argued that Esau is hairy, while he is hairless, and his father will discover his impersonation of his brother, and he may get cursed and not blessed. Rebecca however was persistent and asked Jacob to do as instructed, and she will accept upon herself any curse that may result.
- Rebecca prepares Jacob for the meeting: Jacob brought his mother the goats, and she prepared the delicacy as Isaac enjoys. Rebecca dressed Jacob in the clothing of Esau, and placed the skins of goats on his arms and neck. She then sent Jacob with the bread and delicacies that she prepared.
- Isaac suspects foul play and is reassured: Jacob entered the room of Isaac and called for his father. Upon being asked, Jacob said “I am Esau your first-born son. Please stand and eat the food I prepared for you, as you requested in order to receive your blessing.” Isaac was doubtful as to his identity and asked for him to come close, so he can feel him. He felt his arms and proclaimed “The voice is the voice of Jacob, while the hands are the hands of Esau.
- Jacob is blessed: Isaac then blessed Jacob, asked again for his identity, and ate the food and drink. He then blessed him. Isaac asked for Jacob to kiss him, and upon being kissed he smelled the scent of a G-dly blessed orchard, and he blessed him.
- The content of the blessings
- The content of the blessings were as follows: G-d should bless you with:
- Dew of heaven.
- The fat of the land.
- Much grain.
- Much wine.
- The nations will serve you.
- You will be a master to your brother.
- Those who curse you will be cursed, and those who bless you will be blessed.
- Esau returns and discovers the deception:
- Esau returns with food: As Isaac concluded the blessings, and Jacob exited the room, in walked Esau after completing his hunt. He also made delicacies and asked his father to get up and eat so he can be blessed.
- Isaac realizes he was deceived by Jacob: Isaac asked as to his identity, and he replied that he is Esau, your first-born son. Isaac became stricken with fright, and inquired who the imposter was who fed him earlier and received the blessings. Nonetheless, Isaac agreed for the blessings of the first person to remain steadfast.
- Esau cries, and pleads to be blessed: When Esau heard this, he let out a great cry and begged his father to also bless him. Isaac replied, that his brother connivingly took his blessing. Esau replied that his brother’s name is Jacob, because he connivingly swindled him twice, first the right of the first born and now the blessings. Esau pleaded that his father leave him a blessing. Isaac replied that no blessings remain, as he has given everything over to Jacob, including that his brothers will serve him. Esau continued to plead for a blessing and raised his voice and cried.
- Isaac blesses Esau: Isaac blessed Esau that he will dwell in the fattest of the lands, and he will receive the dew of the heavens. “You will live by your sword, and serve your brother, although when he goes down, you will be able to remove his yoke from your neck.”
- Jacob is sent to Padan Aram:
- Esau wants to kill Jacob: Esau despised Jacob for what he did and conspired to kill him after Isaac’s death.
- Rebecca devises a plan to save Jacob: Rebecca, who discovered Esau’s scheme, informed Jacob of his brother’s plans to murder him. She asked Jacob to run away to her brother Laban in Haran, and remain there until his brother’s wrath subsides. Rebecca spoke to Isaac saying that she does not want Jacob to marry the daughters of the Hittites [and he should thus be sent to Haran].
- Isaac instructs Jacob to go to Padan-Aram to find a wife: Isaac summoned Jacob, and blessed him, and instructed him not to take a daughter from the Canaanite nations. “Go to Padan-Aram, and take for yourself a wife from the daughters of Laban, your mother’s brother. G-d will bless you, and you will multiply and become a nation. You will receive the blessings of Abraham”
- Isaac sent Jacob to Padan-Aram and Jacob obeyed the instructions of his father and mother and left.
- Esau marries a third wife:
- Esau heard the instructions his father Isaac gave Jacob, and how he despised the daughters of Canaan. He thus married another wife, named Mahalat, the daughter of Ishmael, from the family of Abraham.
Verses: 148 [Siman: חלקי]
Haftorah: Hosheia 11:7-12:14
Number of Mitzvot:
There are no Positive or Negative commands mentioned in Parashat Vayeitzei.
- Jacob’s dream:
- Jacob sleeps during his journey to Haran: Jacob departed from Beer Sheva and traveled towards Haran. [During his journey] he encountered the place [called Mount Hamoriah, or the Temple Mount] and slept there, being that the sun had set. He took stones from the area and placed them around his head and laid down to sleep.
- The dream, the angels, and the blessings from G-d: Jacob had a dream. In the dream he saw a ladder reaching from the earth to the heavens, and there were angels ascending and descending from it. G-d was standing over Jacob and He said to him “I am G-d the G-d of Abraham your father, and the G-d of Isaac. The land which you are resting on will be given to you and your descendants. Your descendants will multiply like the dust of the earth, and you will burst forth to all the directions of the world, the east, west, north and south. All the earth will bless themselves through you and your descendants. I am with you, and I will guard you wherever you go. I will return you to this land.”
- Jacob awakens and makes a vow to G-d:
- Jacob awakened from his sleep and he said, indeed, G-d is found in this place and I did not know. Jacob became frightened and said “How awe-striking is this place. This is non other than a house of G-d and it is the gate of Heaven.”
- The Matzeiva: Jacob awoke in the morning and took the stone that he placed around his head and erected it as a pillar, and poured oil on top of it. He called the place “Beth Ail,” however Luz was its original name.
- The vow: Jacob then made a vow, stating “If G-d will be with me, and guard me on my journey, and provide me with food to eat and clothing to wear, and return me to my father’s home in peace, and become for me a G-d, then this stone which I have set up will become a house of G-d, and all that I will earn will be tithed for You.”
- Jacob arrives to Haran:
- The rock sitting on the well: Jacob lifted his feet and traveled towards the land of the east [to Haran]. He arrived [at Haran] and saw three flocks of sheep lying around the drinking well. There was a very large stone sitting on the opening of the well. Customarily, the shepherds would wait until all the flocks of sheep had arrived and they would then together roll the rock off the well and water the sheep.
- Jacob converses with the shepherds: Jacob asked the shepherds “My brothers, where are you from,” to which they replied, “we are from Haran.” Jacob then asked the shepherds if they knew Laban the son of Nahor and they replied in the affirmative. They said that Laban is doing well, and behold here comes his daughter Rachel with the sheep. Jacob chastised the shepherds, telling them it is not yet time to settle the sheep, as the day is still long, and they should water them and then go back to grazing. They replied that they cannot do so until all the shepherds have gathered and are then able to roll the stone off the well.
- Jacob meets Rachel and removes the stone: While they were talking, Rachel arrived with her father’s sheep, as she was a shepherd. When Jacob saw his cousin Rachel, he stepped forward and rolled the rock off the well opening and gave the sheep of Laban to drink. Jacob kissed Rachel and cried with a raised voice. He told her that he is her cousin, the son of Rebecca. Rachel ran to tell her father of the news of his arrival.
- Jacob meets Laban: When Laban heard of his nephew’s arrival he ran to greet him. He kissed him and hugged him and brought him into his house. Jacob told Laban all that had transpired [with Esau]. Laban responded to Jacob “Do not worry, you are my bone and my flesh.” Jacob lodged by Laban for thirty days.
- Jacob works to marry Rachel:
- [Jacob began working for Laban for free, and thus] Laban told Jacob that just because they are family does not mean that he has to work for him for free, and that Jacob should ask for a salary.
- Laban’s daughters: Laban had two daughters, the older one was Leah and the younger was Rachel. The eyes of Leah were tender while Rachel was beautiful in both figure and appearance.
- Jacob works for Rachel: Jacob loved Rachel and he offered Laban to work for him for seven years in exchange for his daughter Rachel’s hand in marriage. Laban agreed to the proposal, stating that it is better he gives his daughter to Jacob than to another man. So, Jacob worked in exchange for Rachel for seven years. Due to his great love for her, it appeared in his eyes like only a few days.
- The wedding scandal:
- The wedding: After completing the years of work, Jacob asked Laban to give him his wife. Laban gathered all the people in the community and they made a wedding feast. At night, Laban took his daughter Leah and gave her to Jacob for a wife, and he consummated the marriage with her. Laban also gave Leah his maidservant called Zilpa, to be a maidservant for her.
- The morning after-The confrontation: In the morning, Jacob noticed that he had been tricked, and was given Leah as a wife. Jacob confronted Laban saying “What have you done to me? I worked for you in exchange for Rachel. Why have you deceived me?” Laban replied, “It is not the custom of our town to marry the younger daughter before the older.” Laban then gave Jacob a second offer “Work for me another seven years, and in exchange I will give you also this daughter [Rachel] after the week is up.
- Jacob marries Rachel: Jacob agreed to the proposal and married Rachel at the end of the week. Jacob consummated the marriage with Rachel and loved her more than Leah. He worked for Laban for another seven years.
- Jacob has children:
- Leah gives birth to Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah: G-d saw that Leah was hated and he thus opened her womb, although Rachel was barren. Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son whom she named Reuben, in commemoration of the fact that “G-d has seen my suffering, as now my husband will love me.” She again became pregnant and had a son whom she named Simeon, in commemoration of the fact that “G-d has heard that I am hated, and thus gave me another son.” She again became pregnant and had a son whom she named Levi, in commemoration of the fact that “Now my husband will attach to me as I have borne him three sons.” She again became pregnant and had a son whom she named Judah, as sign of thanks to G-d. She then stopped having children.
- Rachel confronts Jacob: Rachel saw that she had not borne Jacob any children and she was jealous of her sister. She demanded from Jacob to give her children as otherwise “I am like dead.” Jacob became angered and chastised her saying “Am I in place of G-d who has withheld children from you?”
- Rachel gives Bilhah to Jacob in marriage: In response, Rachel told Jacob to take her maidservant Bilhah in marriage, so she can have a child through her and raise him. Jacob took Bilhah as a wife and he consummated the marriage with her.
- Bilhah gives birth to Dan and Naftali: Bilhah became pregnant and had a son for Jacob who Rachel named Dan, in commemoration of the fact that “G-d has judged me [favorably] and heard my voice to give me a son.” Bilhah again became pregnant and had a second son for Jacob who Rachel named Naftali, in commemoration of the fact that “I have stubbornly offered my prayers to G-d to bond with my sister and become an equal.”
- Leah gives Zilpah to Jacob in marriage: Leah saw that she stopped giving birth, so she gave her maidservant Zilpah to Jacob in marriage.
- Zilpah gives birth to Gad and Asher: Zilpah gave birth to a son for Jacob who Leah named Gad, from the word Bagad, which means a good fortune has come. Zilpah again gave birth to a second son for Jacob who Leah named Asher, from the word Ashruni, as now “I am praised/fortunate because now women will praise me, and deem me fortunate.”
- Rachel trades her night with Jacob in exchange for Reuben’s flowers: Reuben went out in the days of the wheat harvest and found Dudaim [jasmine] in the field. He gave them to his mother Leah. Rachel asked Leah to give her some of the flowers of her son. Leah replied, “Is it not enough that you have taken my husband that now you want to take my sons flowers!” In response, Rachel told Leah that in exchange for the flowers, Leah could sleep with Jacob that night. That night upon Jacob’s arrival from the field, Leah came to greet him, telling him that she bought off Rachel with the Dudaim flowers of her son. Jacob slept with her that night.
- Leah gives birth to Issachar, Zebulun, and Dina: G-d hearkened to Leah and she became pregnant and gave birth to a fifth son who she named Issachar, in commemoration of the fact that “G-d has rewarded me for having given my maidservant to my husband.” She again became pregnant and had a sixth son for Jacob who she named Zebulun, in commemoration of the fact that “G-d has merited me with a good endowment, as I have borne my husband six sons and now he will make his permanent home with me.” Afterwards Leah had a daughter who she named Dina.
- Rachel gives birth to Joseph: G-d remembered Rachel and hearkened to her and opened her womb. She became pregnant and had a son who she called Joseph in commemoration of the fact that “G-d has gathered [and concealed] my disgrace” and as a future prayer that “G-d should add on for me another son.”
- Jacob asks to leave:
- After Rachel gave birth to Joseph, Jacob asked Laban to let him go back to his home and take his wives and children with him, as he worked for them in exchange. Laban replied that he does not want Jacob to leave as he has the belief that he was blessed by G-d due to his presence.
- Jacob makes new business arrangement with Laban and becomes wealthy:
- The business negotiations: Laban [in attempt to convince Jacob to remain] asked Jacob to specify a wage he would like to receive in exchange for his work in shepherding the flock. Jacob replied that he has been a faithful and successful shepherd, causing Laban’s flock to expand tremendously, and now he desires to prosper for his own home. Laban once again asked Jacob what he can offer him as payment, and Jacob replied as follows: “Do not give me anything. If you agree to the following, then I agree to continue working as a shepherd for your sheep.”
- The business agreement: Jacob offered the following business arrangement which was readily accepted by Laban. Jacob would examine all the flocks of sheep and goats and remove from them all speckled, dappled, and brownish lamb, and speckled or dappled goats. My wage will then be all future sheep that are brown, and all future goats that are speckled or dappled. This method would allow Jacob’s integrity to remain unshakeable, as it would be blatantly obvious that he stole if he takes any sheep or goats that are not colored as stated above.
- Separating the brown and speckled sheep/goats: That very day, Laban removed the dappled goats and all the brown sheep, and gave them to his sons. These sheep and goats were moved to a distance of three days from Jacob and his flocks. Jacob then resumed caring for the remaining flock of Laban.
- Jacob’s business schemes to achieve brown and speckled sheep/goats: Jacob took a rod of poplar, hazel and chestnut and peeled stripes into them, in a way that revealed their underlying white skin. Jacob positioned the striped white colored rods into the watering pools where the flock would come to drink. The flock would face these rods when they came to drink and became heated in a way that they conceived and gave birth to ringed, speckled and dappled sheep. Jacob then took these speckled and brown sheep and placed them at the head of the flock, thus causing the animals to face them. Jacob made separate herds for his and Lavin’s sheep. During the mating season of the early bearing flocks, Jacob would place the rods in view of the flock, by the water streams in order to stimulate them. The late bearing flock, however, he did not place in front of the rods, and so it was that the early bearing flocks went to Jacob and the late bearing one’s went to Laban.
- Jacob’s wealth and the ensuing jealousy: Jacob became very wealthy, and he amassed much flock, servants, camels and donkeys. Laban’s sons became jealous and exclaimed that Jacob had usurped all their father’s wealth. When Jacob became aware of this, he noticed that Laban was not happy with him as in previous times.
- G-d tells Jacob to leave:
- G-d appeared to Jacob and told him to return to his father’s land. Jacob summoned Rachel and Leah to meet him in the field. Jacob explained to them the situation with Laban and how he was now no longer on good terms with him.
- Jacob describes how he managed to amass his wealth despite Laban’s schemes: Jacob told his wives the following: Laban had changed my wages tens of times, changing the terms of agreement from me receiving the ringed sheep to me receiving the spotted sheep, although G-d stood by my side and made the flock give birth to whatever was agreed that I would receive, and thus I managed to amass wealth from your fathers flock. Behold, I even saw in a dream that during the mating season [an angel came and brought] the speckled, spotted, and striped male goats to mate. In the dream, the angel told me to see how all the male goats mating are speckled, spotted and striped, as I have seen all that Laban has done to you. The angel then instructed me to return home.
- Rachel and Leah agree to leave: Rachel and Leah both responded that they no longer have a portion in the father’s household, and he treated them like strangers, selling them, and consuming their money. “Now do all that G-d tells you.”
- Jacob and family flee:
- Jacob arose and lifted his sons and wives onto the camels, and took all his livestock and possessions and traveled to Padan Aram.
- Rachel steals the Terafim: When this happened, Laban was away shearing his sheep, and Rachel took the opportunity and stole the Terafim [idols] of her father.
- Jacob deceived Laban by running away without informing him. He crossed the river and set towards Mount Gilead.
- Laban discovers Jacob’s escape and sets chase for him:
- On the third day of Jacob’s escape, Laban was informed that he had run away. He took his brethren with him and chased after Jacob for a seven day’s journey, and met up with him by Mount Gilead.
- G-d warns Laban: G-d appeared to Laban in a dream at night and warned him not to speak with Jacob neither good or bad.
- Laban confronts Jacob:
- Laban arrived to Jacob’s location and confronted him saying “What have you done, that you have deceived me and taken my daughters like captives of war. Why did you flee so deceptively and not inform me, so I could send you off with a band and parade? You withheld me from kissing my sons and daughters. You have acted foolishly, as my deities have ability to harm you, but your G-d forewarned me yesterday not to do so. Now, I understand if you are longing for your father’s house, but why did you steal my Terafim.”
- Jacob responds: Jacob replied that Laban is free to search for his gods and that whoever they are found with will not live. Jacob was not aware that Rachel stole them.
- Laban searches for his idols: Laban went into the tents of Rachel, Leah and the two maidservants, and back to the tent of Rachel, but he did not find them. In truth, Rachel took the Terafim and hid them under the saddle of the camel which she was sitting on. Laban searched through the whole tent but could not find them. Rachel told her father that he should excuse her for not standing up in his honor, as she is menstruating.
- Jacob confronts Laban: Jacob became angered and scolded Laban saying “What is it that you want? What have I sinned against you that you pursue me? You searched all my belongings, and did you find anything that is yours? I worked for you for twenty years honestly and hard, taking all the loses that occurred to the flock. I worked in the heat of day and snow of night, with little sleep. I worked in exchange of your two daughters for 14 years, and 6 years I worked for your flock, and you changed by wages tens of times. If not for G-d watching me I would have left empty handed.”
- Jacob and Laban make a pact:
- Laban replied to Jacob “Everything that you see is mine, the daughters are mine, the sons are mine, the flocks are mine. How could I harm them! Now, let us make a pact with each other.”
- The mound and monument: Jacob took a stone and raised it as a monument. Jacob had his sons gather stones and they made a mound, on which they ate. Laban called the area Yegar Sahadusa, while Jacob called it Gal-Aid. Laban stated that the mound is a witness of the pact made and that G-d will watch to see if Jacob oppresses his daughters. The mound is a witness that I may not cross over to do evil to you and you may not cross over it to do evil to me. Jacob swore to the pact in the Dread of his father Isaac. Jacob slaughtered animals and they sat down for a meal, sleeping on the mountain.
- Laban leaves: In the morning Laban rose and kissed his sons and daughters and blessed them. Laban left the place and returned home.
- Jacob continues his travels: Jacob continued on his journey and met angels of G-d. Jacob exclaimed that this is a G-dly camp, and he thus named it Machanayim.
Verses: 154 [Siman: קליטה]
Haftorah: Ovadia 1:1-21
Number of Mitzvot:
There is a total of One Mitzvah in Parashat Vayishlach; Zero positive command and One negative command. The following are the commands in the order listed by the Sefer Hachinuch.
1. Mitzvah 3/Negative 1: Not to eat the Gid Hanashe, the Sciatic nerve.
- Jacob prepares to meet Esau:
- Messengers sent to Esau: Jacob sends messengers to his brother Esau to the land of Seir, fields of Edom. Jacob instructs them to go and tell Esau that he was with Laban until this time, and thus delayed meeting him. “Tell him that I have a lot of cattle and am coming to my master to find favor in his eyes.” The messengers returned from their meeting with Esau and told Jacob that Esau is coming to greet him with 400 men.
- Jacob splits the camp and prays: Jacob became very fearful, and split his camp of people and cattle into two groups, so if Esau smites one camp, the other camp can survive. Jacob Davened to G-d that in the merit of Abraham and Isaac that he should be saved. “Save me from the hands of my brother Esau. You said you will do good to me, and make my offspring like the sand of the sea that are too numerous to count.”
- Jacob sends presents to Esau:
- The content of the present: Jacob slept there that night and prepared to send Esau a present of animals; 200 female goats and 20 male goats, 200 female sheep, and 20 rams, 30 male and female camels, 40 female cows and 10 bulls, 20 female donkeys and 10 male donkeys.
- The instructions given to the messengers sending the present: Jacob placed the animals in different groups of herds, and instructed the messengers taking the herds to make space between each herd. Jacob instructed them: Upon meeting Esau, you are to tell him that the animals belong to your servant Jacob and he is sending them as a present to his master Esau. Tell him that Jacob too is on his way to greet him. Each group was instructed to tell Esau the above.
- Jacob slept that night in the camp, after the present was sent.
- Jacob battles the angel of Esau:
- Crossing his family: Jacob awoke in middle of the night and crossed his two wives and 11 children across the river of Yabok. He also moved all of his belongings. Jacob remained on the other side and fought with a man until day break.
- The battle: The man saw that he was unable to overcome Jacob, so he injured his joint in his thigh. Jacob was holding him when morning arrived and refused to let go of him until he promised to bless him. The man promised Jacob that his name will no longer be Jacob but rather Israel, which means that he has battled and won against men [who are angels]. Jacob asked for his name, and the man did not answer.
- Jacob called that place Peniyail, as he saw the face of an angel and was saved.
- Jacob’s injury: Jacob was limping after the above encounter.
- The sciatic nerve: We do not eat from the sciatic nerve of an animal until this day due to this injury that Jacob sustained in the battle.
- Jacob meets Esau:
- Jacob raised his eyes and saw Esau and his 400 men coming to greet him.
- The setup of Jacob’s family: Jacob separated the children with Rochel and Leah. The maids and their children were placed first, and Rachel and Joseph last.
- Hugging, kissing and crying: Jacob bowed seven times until he reached his brother. Esau ran towards him, and hugged him and kissed him. He fell on his neck and they both cried. Esau lifted his eyes and saw Jacob’s family and asked who they are. Jacob replied that they are the children which G-d has granted “your servant.”
- The maid servants and their children came forward and bowed to Esau. Leah and her children came forth and bowed to Esau and then came Joseph and Rachel.
- Jacob asks Esau to accept the present as seeing him is like seeing the face of G-d. Jacob persists that Esau accept the present and he does so.
- Jacob and Esau part ways: Esau offered to escort Jacob on his journey. Jacob refused the offer under the pretext that his camp travels very slowly. Esau then returned to Seir and Jacob encamped in Sukkot.
- Jacob moves to Shechem:
- Jacob then moved to Shechem and purchased a field there for 100 Kesita.
- The altar: He built an altar there and called it the G-d of Israel.
- Dina is kidnapped and raped:
- Dina, the daughter of Leah, came out to see the daughters of Shechem. Shechem, the son of Hamor, the president of the land, saw her. He took her, lay with her, violated her and oppressed her. His soul became attached to Dina. He loved her and spoke to her heart. Shechem requested from his father that he arrange that Dina be given to him as a wife.
- Jacob and his sons hear the news: Jacob heard that Dina was defiled. He did not say anything until his sons returned from the field. Hamor, the father of Shechem, met with Jacob. The brothers were very angry when they heard what happened.
- The negotiations and agreements with Hamor: Hamor offered that if they give Dina to his son Shechem as a wife, he will let them take their daughters for them as wives and they would be able to live freely on the land. Shechem also pleaded with Jacob and his sons to be given Dina as a wife, and in exchange he will give whatever dowry he is asked. The children of Jacob connivingly answered Shechem and Hamor that they can only agree to the marriage if all the males of the land circumcise themselves. Hamor, and Shechem agreed to the terms, and the circumcision took place right away.
- The circumcision of Shechem: Hamor and Shechem convinced the city inhabitants to circumcise themselves, under the argument that doing so will allow them to unify with Jacob and do commerce with them.
- The city is annihilated and ransacked: On the third day after the circumcision, when the inhabitants were in great pain, Simeon and Levi came and killed all the male inhabitants of the city. They killed Hamor and Shechem with the sword and took Dina from the house of Shechem. They took spoils from the city. They took the cattle, all their wives and children, and all that was in their homes.
- Jacob’s reaction: Jacob confronted Simeon and Levi for murdering the city inhabitants, arguing that it will cause the surrounding nations to attack them, and wipe them out. The brothers replied, “Can we allow our sister to be like a harlot.”
- Jacob returns to Beth-El:
- Building an altar: G-d came to Jacob and told him to return to Beth-El and build an altar in commemoration of running away from Esau his brother.
- Idol cleansing: Jacob commanded his family to get rid of all the idols that are amongst them, and to change their clothing. Jacob took all the idols, and earrings and buried them under the tree, near Shechem.
- They traveled, and all the cities feared them and did not begin a war with them.
- Jacob arrived in Luz, which is Beth El, and built the altar.
- Devora dies: Devorah, the nurse of Rebecca, passed away, and was buried beneath the mountain of Beth El which Jacob named Alon Bachus.
- Jacob is blessed: G-d appeared again to Jacob and blessed him. G-d told Jacob that his name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel. Jacob was promised that a great nation would come forth from him.
- G-d promised Jacob that the land which was promised to Abraham and Isaac, will be given to him. G-d then left him.
- The monument: Jacob established a monument of stone in that area, and poured oil over it. Jacob named the place Beth El.
- Rachel’s dies during childbirth:
- They traveled from Beth El towards Efrat, and Rachel was having a very difficult labor in giving birth. As she gave birth, the midwife told her that it is a son, as Rachel was dying as a result of the birth. His father, Jacob, called his son Benjamin. Rachel died and was buried on the way to Efrat, which is Beth Lachem. Jacob placed a monument on her grave which remains there until this very day.
- Israel traveled and settled his camp near Migdal Eider.
- Reuben’s sin:
- While Israel was living in that land, Reuben went and slept with Bilhah, the concubine of his father. Israel discovered what occurred.
- The sons of Jacob:
- Jacob had 12 sons.
- The sons of Leah: Reuben the firstborn, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun.
- The sons of Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin.
- The sons of Bilhah, the maidservant of Rachel: Dan and Naftali.
- The sons of Zilpah, the maidservant of Leah: Gad and Asher.
- Jacob returns to his father:
- Jacob returned to Isaac his father, in Kiryat Arba, Hebron.
- Isaac passes away:
- Isaac lived for 180 years, passing away at a ripe old age. He was buried by Jacob and Esau.
- The descendants of Esau, Edom:
Esau was married to Adah, the daughter of Eilon, and to Ahalivamah, the daughter of Anah and Tzivon, and Basmas the daughter of Ishmael. The following were their children:
- Ada’s offspring:
- Basmas offspring:
- Ahalivama’s offspring:
The above children were born in Eretz Canaan, and Esau then moved from Canaan to Seir, as the land did not contain enough food for the animals to graze for the flocks of both Jacob his brother, and Esau.
The following are the children of Esau, the father of Edom, on the mountain of Seir:
- Elifaz’s offspring:
- Amalek, which was born to Timna, the concubine of Elifaz.
- Reuel’s offspring:
- The descendants of Seir:
The following are the descendants of Seir the Chori:
- Anah who discovered the mules.
- Timna was the sister of Lotan.
- The kings who reigned before there was a king for the Jewish people:
The following are the kings who reigned before the Jewish people:
- Bela Ben Beor, from Dinhavah
- Yovav the son of Zerach from Batzrah
- Chusham from Yemen.
- Hadad Ben Bedad who defeated Midian in the field of Moab.
- Samlah from Masraikah
- Shaul from Rechovos Hanahar.
- Baal Chanan the son of Achbor
- Hadar from the city of Pau. His wife was Mehaytavail the daughter of Matraid, the daughter of May Zahav.
- Esau is the father of all the Edomites.
 So is followed by Chabad communities. However, Sepharadic communities conclude at 13:5. Ashkenazi communities read from 12:13-14:10.