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Thursday, November 14, 2013



  • Yaakov returns to Canaan and sends messengers ahead, to meet his brother Esav and make peace.
  • The messengers returned and announced that Esav is approaching with 400 men!
  • Yaakov was afraid and divided his camp into 2.  
  • Yaakov announced that if one group was taken into battle, the other should flee.
  • Yaakov prepared for battle in 3 ways:  Bearing gifts, praying, preparing for war.                     
  • Yaakov wrestles with an angel until dawn.
  • The angel dislocates Yaakov's sciatic nerve and causes Yaakov to limp.
  • Yaakov received a blessing from the Malach and his name was changed to Yisrael.
  • Esav and his army approach and Yaakov bows down to him seven times.
  • Esav runs to Yaakov and hugs and kisses him.
  • Esav offers to accompany Yaakov, but Yaakov declines.
  • Esav and Yaakov depart.
  • The Story of  Dina.
  • Shimon and Levi destroy the city of Shechem and save Dina.
  • Yaakov and his family continue towards Hevron.
  • Yaakov's beloved wife Rachel, dies on the way to Hevron, giving birth to their second son, Binyamin.
  • Yaakov buries her right there (in Bet Lechem).
  • Yitzchak dies at the age of 180.
  • Yaakov and Esav bury him in Mearat Hamchpela in Hevron.

In this week’s parsha we read about Yaakov and Eisav,
When they  first both met, it was not brotherly love.
Eisav the haughty, acted like a very big shot,
When Yaakov gave him a gift, he said “I have a lot.”

Yaakov was the opposite, he was happy without greed,
He said to Eisav modestly, “I have all that I need.”
Yaakov did not know what Eisav had in store,
So he davened, prepared a present, and then prepared for war.

Praying to God is the most important thing,
but it also is important to prepare for anything.
Yaakov brought his family when it was already night,
To the other side, and then he had a fight.

He had forgotten something, and that’s why he went back,
he did not even realize it, he was suddenly under attack.
Who fought with Yaakov and what did he forget?
And where did Yaakov cross, a place that’s really wet.

In this week’s parsha In an attempt to pacify Esav, Yaakov prepared him a lavish  gift.
You will need a jar and a lot of newspapers to play pass the present. 
Prepare parsha questions before Shabbat.   
Some examples:
Who was approaching Yaakov at the beginning of the Parsha?
How many men were with him?
What 3 things did Yaakov prepare?
How many times did Yaakov bow down to Eisav….

Wrap the jar with newspapers one layer at a time.  Place a parsha question in any layer of the newspaper.  Keep wrapping until you finish the newspapers. The players pass the present around the circle. Each person should remove a layer of newspaper.  If they receive a question they must answer it and then  remove another layer.  The parcel should be passed around the circle in the same direction. The player who removes the last layer of wrapping paper keeps the “present”.  (The jar that Yaakov forgot on the other side of the Yabok river.

Here is a great way for my father and I to learn a little bit of Parsha each week, even though we live far from each other. ( I like the play on words of Abba in the word Shabbat and Imabba meaning "with Abba" and Ima Abba written together!  Thanks Abba and Ima :-)!
After crossing the Jordan and  entering Canaan, it states: וַיָּבֹא יַעֲקֹב שָׁלֵם עִיר שְׁכֶם אֲשֶׁר בְּאֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן בְּבֹאוֹ מִפַּדַּן אֲרָם וַיִּחַן אֶת פְּנֵי הָעִיר. “Yaakov arrived shalem (שָׁלֵם) in the city of Shechem which is in the land of Canaan- having come  from Padan-aram – and he encamped before the city.” 
Shalem stands for: 
Shin- Shem, his name
Lamed- Lashon, his language
Mem- malbush, his clothing.

Even though Yaakov lived in Lavan's house, he still kept the mitzvot and his Jewish pride.  
It also states: 
I lived with Lavan and I kept the 613 mitzvot."  Im Lavan Garti " if you change the letters around in garti- you get taryag (613) mitzvot that Yaakov kept. 
Chazal, in Midrash Rabbah, teach that Bnei Yisrael merited redemption from Mitzrayim because of three things; they didn’t change their names, their style of dress and the language they spoke. 
What is interesting to note, is that in the beginning of the parsha, Esav was approaching Yaakov with 400 men.  Origianlly, the Jews were supposed to be enslaved for 400 years in Egypt.  Since they did not change, the same way their ancestor Yaakov did not change, they merited an early redemption.
From here we can learn that we must always try to be
positive role models to our children.  Even though sometimes it might seem like they are not learning, deep down they are learning from example.
Yaakov divides his family/camp into multiple camps realizing that if one is attacked, the other will survive. It's not that he didn't love or care for both; it's that he had to face the reality of a hostile encounter with his brother.

When life sends you challenges and the options presented are not ideal, one still has to deal with each option. Prioritization means arranging your options so that you achieve what you feel will be the most positive outcome.


the state or quality of being earlier in time, occurrence, etc.

the right to precede others in order, rank, privilege, etc.; precedence.

3. the right to take precedence in obtaining certain supplies, services, facilities, especially during a shortage.

something given special attention.


In this week's parsha we find that Yaakov went to the other side of the Yabok river to fight with someone.  The pasuk states that Yaakov was left alone and a man wrestled with him until daybreak.  If he was left alone, how could someone have wrestled with him?

Maybe he was alone and he was wrestling with himself.  He might have seen his reflection in the river and been afraid of who he had become.  He might have been fighting with his physical and spiritual self.  He was becoming more of an Esav and enjoying his physical wealth, which then worried him and he now had to struggle to find the answers. 

Yaakov is really frightened, but at the same time he wants to overcome his fear.

When the Torah says he has a limp, maybe the memory  is a reminder for the future, of how hard this experience was for Yaakov. With a limp, he would never forget what he had learned. With the limp, he is weaker outside, but inside he is even stronger, since he was able to overcome his fear.

In this week’s parsha, Yaakov and Eisav hugged and Yaakov fought with the Malach in the night.  Here is a cake that tells the story.  Yaakov’s leg could have a little break, since he was injured by the gid hanashe.

You will need:
Peanut butter Chocolate delight
Cookie dough or fondant shapes

Peanut Butter Chocolate delight:

1 stick of margarine
2 cups peanut butter
2 cups of pettit bar cookies
4 cups powdered sugar

Crush the cookies and melt margarine and peanut butter together.  Blend cookies and sugar together.  Press in a 9x13 inch pan.

Melt a package of chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon of oil and pour on top of the mixture.  Put in the refrigerator until it hardens.

In the meantime prepare 4 people shapes from cookie dough  or fondant.  You can prepare a sword for Esav, stars and a moon to resemble the night.  Place the cookies in the oven (if you are using dough) (the people should be hugging each other) and bake according to the recipe.

You can have your cake and eat it too! Have a wonderful and fun Shabbat!    

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