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Torah Commentary Blog

Parashat Vayishlach (October 31, 2015)
by Rabbinic Intern Stephanie Crawley

PARASHAT VAYISHLACH IS ONE of our tradition’s most dramatic tales of reconciliation, recounting the moment of reunion between the brothers Jacob and Esau.

The first part of their story is one of rivalry, deception and revenge. Even in the womb, Jacob and Esau wrestle, (Genesis 25:22) and their rivalry continues at their birth, when Esau comes out first, followed by Jacob, who is grasping onto Esau’s foot. In fact, Jacob’s name, Yaakov, is a wordplay on the word akev, meaning “heel,” and its related verb, which means “to overreach.” Jacob, from birth, is trying to “overreach” his brother. (Genesis 25:25-26)

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