Vayishlach – R’vi’i

Purim and Sukkos?

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Yaakov’s wives and children all bowed down before Eisav. (Binyamin was not yet born and therefore never bowed down to Eisav. This gave Mordechai – a descendant of Binyamin – an “out” not to bow down to Eisav’s descendant Haman, as no precedent had been set for that Tribe.)

“So,” Eisav asked, “what was up with all the sheep and stuff you sent?”

Yaakov explained that it was an effort to make peace. Eisav told his brother that he didn’t need it, since he had also been doing very well. Yaakov urged him to accept it and Eisav relented. (It’s possible that he always planned to accept it and was merely “refusing” out of expected politeness, like when everyone reaches for the check.)

Eisav suggested that they all travel together, but Yaakov got out of it be saying that his children and nursing flocks would just slow Eisav down, but that he would meet up with his brother in Seir. (Rashi quotes a Midrash that this is a reference to the Messianic era when “redeemers” will come to judge the mountain of Eisav.) Eisav offered to place some of his men on detached duty, assisting Yaakov, but he declined. “I don’t need that, so long as we part on good terms,” Yaakov told him.

Eisav returned to his home in Seir. Yaakov built himself a house and he also built huts for his herds. He therefore named the place Sukkos (“huts” – this is not the same as the Sukkos where the Jews camped after leaving Egypt).

Yaakov finally returned to Canaan and entered the city of Shechem. He bought a piece of property on the outskirts of the city, purchased from the head of the city, a man named Chamor.

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