Bereishis 33:3. And he went ahead of them and prostrated himself to the ground seven times, until he came close to his brother.
Esau has come to meet Yaakov. According to Rashi who quotes [from Gen. Rabbah 78:8]‘He said, “If that scoundrel comes to fight, let him fight with me first.” –
What is going on here? Why is Yaakov treating Esav as a master? There are a couple things to consider. First the practical reality is that Esav has a superior force and Yaakov is trying to appease. He first sent the angels to Esav so that he would begin to feel kindly towards him. The second thing to notice is that since Esav represents the Yetzer Hara Yaakov does not confront him directly but rather distracts him with an overflow of kindness towards him so that Esav will remember that they are still brothers.
Bereishis 22:4. And Esau ran toward him and embraced him, and he fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.
Esav does indeed recognize Yaakov and remembers their kinship. He does wonder at all the gifts that Yaakov has been sending him.
Bereishis 33:8. And he said, “What is to you [the purpose of] all this camp that I have met?” And he said, “To find favor in my master’s eyes.”
Yaakov is in a round about way acknowledging the great wrong he did to Esav and seeks to make amends here. Esav answers that he is doing well and does not need Yaakov’s gifts but Yaakov insists because this is part of his tikkune (correction-making things right) towards Esav. This answer also according Rashi points to a subtle acknowledgement from Esav that Yaakov did indeed deserve the blessings he received from their father Yitzhak.
Esav offers to send some of his men with Yaakov but Yaakov wisely refuses because he does not want to war with Esav preferring instead to go on his own way. Esav says okay and they part amicably.
Bereishis 33:11. Now take my gift, which has been brought to you, for God has favored me [with it], and [because] I have everything.” He prevailed upon him, and he took [it].
Yaakov makes peace with Esav. This is very important because as he moves into his own space in the city of Shechem his past resolved his future about unfold dramatically.
Bereishis 33: 20. There he erected an altar, and he named it “God is the God of Israel.”
Yaakov is called Yisrael by the angel he wrestled with. This is an altar to the proof of heaven and Yaakov’s deliverance from the chaos that both Lavan and Esav represented. It is also a symbol of what must always be done with chaos and that is in its harmonization and reflection from above that transforms that chaos moment by moment.
Rashi says the following about this altar. … ‘that is to say: He Who is God that is the Holy One, blessed be He-He is God to me, whose name is Israel.
The transformation of Yaakov is completed in this recognition. It is the recognition of the unity of G-d and Yaakov. In this subtle verse Yaakov demonstrates that unity by say his G-d is the G-d of Israel meaning in his transformed state of being he and Hashem are one. Again from Rashi…’Our Rabbis (Meg. 18a) interpreted it to mean that the Holy One, blessed be He, called Jacob God [rendering: and the God of Israel called him God].’
Torah is indeed food for thought. B”H. Stay tuned.
For LOCAL INFO on Kabbalah, Torah, and a local events calendar click here.