At the end of last week’s Parsha the Torah goes on at great length detailing the offspring of Esav. The message is clear, Esav is no longer a part of our story. The focus is now on Yakov and his family. Yakov understands this as well. He has returned to the Land of Israel and his brother has left. They had their meeting and went their separate ways. Finally Yakov can leave the past and his struggles with his brother behind him. It doesn’t work that way. Yakov and his children recreate the very same conflicts that he was sure he put an end to.
One of my housemates in university was assigned to create a family tree that mapped out the relationships between his ancestors. He was amazed to see how the same conflicts and traumas arose in each generation. Yakov thought that after meeting the challenge of Esav that he was done with it, instead he recreates it in his children. Life is a series of challenges, but they are not separate challenges. Once we succeed on one level, the challenge rises to meet us at the next one. This is the source of our strength, this is the gift we have to offer the world.
Rabbi Yehoshua Ellis