Photo of Rabbi Ettedgui

Parashat Vayishlach - 5778

Dear friends,

Twenty-some years have passed since Jacob left his family in Beer Sheba and headed to Haran. He left because of Esau's threat and now he must return home and face the music. In this parasha we read the preparations Jacob made before facing his brother. The scouts he sent to find out Esau's intent returned and told him that Esau was heading his way accompanied by 400 men, meaning that Esau had not forgiven him and was prepared for war. Jacob is afraid that he might lose and that Esau will destroy his family.

As we read about what Jacob did, our sages describe three distinct actions that he took:

  1. He prayed for G-d's help.
  2. He prepared a large gift consisting of many animals.
  3. He prepared for war if it should become necessary.

As it turned out, his brother forgave him, maybe because of the gift or true brotherly love.

Our country, as well as Israel, faces a similar situation today. Do we go to war or look for alternatives? To save lives, everything must be done to negotiate and help bring peace thru (in the case of Israel) the two-state solution, and (in the case of the United States) a peaceful conclusion to the North Korean threats.

Lives are very important; however, one must also be prepared for war. We pray that G-d give our leaders the wisdom to find a way to remove the threats and, at the same time, save the lives of many.

Shabbat Shalom,

Avram