From ReformJudaism.org https://reformjudaism.org/torah/portion/vayishlach
Vayishlach [וַיִּשְׁלַח (Jacob) Sent] Genesis 32:4−36:43
Jacob now sent messengers ahead of him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, in the countryside of Edom. – Genesis 32:4
- Jacob prepares to meet Esau. He wrestles with a “man,” who changes Jacob’s name to Israel. (32:4-33)
- Jacob and Esau meet and part peacefully, each going his separate way. (33:1-17)
- Dinah is raped by Shechem, the son of Hamor the Hivite, who was chief of the country. Jacob’s sons Simeon and Levi take revenge by murdering all the males of Shechem, and Jacob’s other sons join them in plundering the city. (34:1-31)
- Rachel dies giving birth to Benjamin and is buried in Ephrah, which is present-day Bethlehem. (35:16-21)
- Isaac dies and is buried in Hebron. Jacob’s and Esau’s progeny are listed. (35:22-36:43)
From Wikipedia.org https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vayishlach
Hosea 11:7-12:12 or Obadiah 1:1-21 (Ashkenazim) or Obadiah 1:1-21 (Sephardim)
Connection to the parshah
The section from the Book of Hosea mentions the deeds of Jacob, including his wrestling with an angel. The Book of Obadiah deals with God’s wrath against the kingdom of Edom, who are descended from Esau. At times Esau’s name is used as a synonym for the nation.
STRUGGLING WITH TORAH
From Wikipedia.org https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vayishlach
Vayishlach (וַַיִּשְׁלַח — Hebrew for “And [Jacob] sent”) – Genesis 32:4-36:43
In the [complete] parashah, Jacob reconciles with Esau after wrestling with a “man” [who changes his name to Israel]. The prince Shechem rapes Dinah, whose brothers sack the city of Shechem in revenge. In the family’s subsequent flight, Rachel gives birth to Benjamin and dies in childbirth.
[In the triennial part of Vayishlach, Genesis 35:16-36:43, Rachel is buried on the road to Ephrath identified with Bethlehem in the reading – the only one of the matriarchs not buried in the cave of Machpelah. After continuing their journey, Reuben lies with Jacob’s concubine Bilhah. A list of Jacob’s sons and their mothers follows. The first part ends with Isaac’s death at 180, and Esau and Jacob together burying him. The second part lists Esau’s descendants in detail. The persons named may represent the alliances between Edom and the surrounding Canaanites. Significantly, unlike the list of Jacob’s descendants, the list includes the names of various women.]
From Women of Reform Judaism.org
In Parashat Vayishlach, God’s promise to make Abraham’s descendants as numerous as “the grains of sand along the seashore” (Genesis 32:13) meets the messy realities of intra-familial conflict and extra-tribal politics. The struggles of Abraham’s descendants to establish their identities—in relationship to God, to each other, and to the Canaanites among whom they live—feature prominently in this parashah. Jacob, who the biblical text portrays as one who struggles even prior to his birth, continues to do so in this parashah. The parashah begins with Jacob’s terror over an imminent and potentially dangerous encounter with his estranged brother Esau. After preparing for this encounter, Jacob struggles physically with a mysterious figure who may or may not be divine, and his name changes as a result. The physical conflict with Esau does not materialize, and Jacob ultimately reconciles with his brother. Later in the parashah, Dinah, Jacob’s daughter, has a sexual encounter with Shechem, the son of a Canaanite tribal leader. The difficulties triggered by this incident highlight the challenges for the descendants of Abraham as they struggle with what it means to live according to God’s covenant in the midst of the other inhabitants of Canaan.
From “The Torah / A Women’s Commentary” edited by Dr. Tamara Cohn Eskenazi and Rabbi Andrea L. Weiss, Ph.D.
וישלח Vayishlach – Genesis 32:4-36:43
From Jacob to Israel by Shawna Dolansky and Risa Levitt Kohn, p.183
Parashat Vayishlach (“And he sent”) features Jacob––the third and final patriarch––as he becomes the last individual to receive a personal covenant with God. In a life-transforming event, Jacob meets God face to face, and his name is changed to “Israel,” which may reflect his own struggles with God. After Jacob, all future covenant renewals will be made between God and B’nei Yisrael (literally “the children of [the patriarch] Israel”)––the Israelites as a whole, who will continue the struggle.
All of the women in this parashah (except for those in the genealogy of Esau in Genesis 36) are members of Jacob’s immediate family. What stands out is the troubling story of Dinah and Shechem (Genesis 34), although Dinah’s role in the narrative is revealingly minor. While she functions as a trigger for the event, the tale focuses on the relations between the men of the family of Jacob and the Canaanites among whom they settled. The major concern in the story as told is not the personal fate of an individual woman (or man) but the political relationship between Israel and the other inhabitants in the land. Dinah becomes a symbol in the exploration of the theme of identity––of self and of other––that began with the story of Abraham.
The other women in Jacob’s household appear in passing in this parashah, with Rachel’s death as a poignant conclusion. In general, these passages enable us to view the women of the story as intermediaries linking together groups of men, while moving about in the social world of the male characters––who have the authority to represent both the women and the subordinate men in their households.
From Mishkan T’filah / A Reform Siddur
FOR OUR COUNTRY p.516
THUS SAYS ADONAI, This is what I desire: to unlock the fetters of wickedness, and untie the cords of lawlessness; to let the oppressed go free, to break off every yoke. Share your bread with the hungry, and take the wretched poor into your home. When you see the naked, give clothing, and do not ignore your own kin.
O GUARDIAN of life and liberty, may our nation always merit Your protection. Teach us to give thanks for what we have by sharing it with those who are in need. Keep our eyes open to the wonders of creation, and alert to the care of the earth. May we never be lazy in the work of peace; may we honor those who have [served, suffered or] died in defense of our ideals. Grant our leaders wisdom and forbearance. May they govern with justice and compassion. Help us all to appreciate one another, and to respect the many ways that we may serve You. May our homes be safe from affliction and strife, and our country be sound in body and spirit. Amen.
We recite MI SHEBËRACH for the victims of abuse, brutality, conflicts, fear, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence of all kinds especially directed at individuals and specific communities including us, and war; for all those at home alone or lonely; for all those in need of physical, emotional, and mental healing. “R’fuah sh’lëmah” – a complete recovery!
We say KADDISH YATOM for those of our friends and families who have died and been buried this last week; those in the period of Sh’loshim (30 days since burial); those who have died in the last year; and those whose Yahrzeits/Anyos occur at this time; as well as the victims of brutality, conflict, disease, natural disasters, pandemics, tragedies, violence of all kinds, and war.
This coming week, 16 Kislev through 22 Kislev, we lovingly remember:
Those victims of the Sho’ah (Holocaust) who died at this time of year.
“ZICHRONAM LIV’RACHAH” – MAY THEIR MEMORIES BE FOR BLESSING.
TORAH STUDY AND SHAZOOM
Al sh’loshah d’varim ha’olam omëd – the world is sustained by three things: Torah, worship and loving deeds. We will meet as usual at the regular times for Torah Study and Shazoom led by Dr. Sam and Mary Caron this Friday evening, November 19, 2021.
Zoom continues being updated for security and performance features. In some cases, there are extra steps to go through in order to join a meeting. Making sure you have the latest version of Zoom, please join us online this Friday evening:
Topic: Torah Study – Triennial reading Genesis 35:16-36:43
Time: Nov 19, 2021 06:00 PM Arizona
Shazoom – Erev Shabbat Service
Time: Nov 19, 2021 07:30 PM Arizona
To join the Torah Study and/or Shazoom Meeting click on the following link [you may need to copy it into your browser]:
Meeting ID: 725 1050 0854
Hint: The last character of the password is the number zero.
Shabbat Shalom – Buen Shabbat,
PS – Thanksgiving is less than a week away. This year Chanukah begins a few days later on the evening of Sunday, November 28, 2021.