The climax of our parsha is when, after an absence of at least 20 years, Yakov meets his brother Esav again.

Before the meeting, Yakov sends messengers to Esav to let him know he is coming. The messengers inform him that Esav is already on his way – accompanied by 400 men.

Our sages argue about whether these were 400 generals, each with their own force, or an honor guard to celebrate the historic meeting. What is clear however is that Esav doesn’t bring his family to meet his brother.

Yakov meets his brother with his family in tow. He tells Esav “look how hard I have worked to rebuild what we lost, what I destroyed.”

Esav meets Yakov without his family and tells him “you took nothing from me, you destroyed nothing, I was never part of a family. I don’t hate you because you took my family from me. I hate you because you trapped me in it to begin with.”

There is nothing as holy as a Jewish family. This is why the Torah starts out telling us the story of Jewish families. Esav’s tragedy is not his lust for power. It is his disdain for family.

Shabbat Shalom!
Rabbi Yehoshua Ellis



Laura Ben-David
Laura Ben-David