Text: Genesis 32:4 – 36:43
In Parashat (Torah Portion) Vayishlach, Jacob (Ya’akov) hears that his estranged brother Esau was coming to his camp. Given the tenor of their last interaction – Jacob stealing Esau’s birthright – and reports that Esau had 400 men with him, Jacob feared for his family. So the night before Esau’s people arrived, Jacob divided his camp – seen along the horizon in this piece – so if Esau attacked one, half of Jacob’s camp and family may survive. As he slept that night, a mysterious being wrestled with him until sunrise. Jacob demanded the stranger’s name, but he refused and instead blessed Jacob with a new name, Israel (Yisrael), “one who wrestles with God.” The stranger only overpowers Jacob/Israel just as the sun comes up by touching his inner thigh and crippling him.
When Jacob/Israel goes to greet Esau the next morning, newly crippled and expecting the worst, he’s rightfully apprehensive. However, his fears turn out to be unfounded as Esau enthusiastically embraces him, assures his brother he harbors no resentment over the birthright – he has plenty now anyway, he says – and the brothers who wrestled in the womb finally reunite in true friendship.
This piece can be personalized with an inscription of the name and date of a Bar or Bat Mitzvah! Be sure to include the spelling of the Hebrew name if possible (to type in Hebrew: http://www.branah.com/hebrew ).