Vayishlach Week ending November 24, 2018
Torah – Genesis 32:3-36:43 Haftarah – Obediah 1:1-21

Brit Chadashah – Hebrews 11:11-20; Matthew 26:36-45
Vayishlach is Hebrew for he sent. I highly encourage you to read and study all of the above
listed verses as this portion is packed with a lot of great lessons just waiting to be found. For
the purposes of this study, we will look at one topic found in the following verses.
Genesis 32:24-31, “Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking
of day. 25 Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his
hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. 26 And He said,
“Let Me go, for the day breaks.” But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” 27 So
He said to him, “What [is] your name?” He said, “Jacob.” 28 And He said, “Your name shall no
longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with G-d and with men, and have
prevailed.” 29 Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell [me] Your name, I pray.” And He said, “Why [is] it
[that] you ask about My name?” And He blessed him there. 30 So Jacob called the name of the
place Peniel: “For I have seen G-d face to face, and my life is preserved.” 31 Just as he
crossed over Penuel the sun rose on him, and he limped on his hip.” (NKJV)
This is quite possibly the most famous wrestling match of all time! In fact, it may very well be
the most intriguing match of all time as a result of the deliberate masking of the persons
identity whom Jacob wrestled through the night.
As always, it is important for me to mention at the outset here that the plain meaning of the text
is indeed exactly what was meant, and is exactly what happened during this encounter. That
being said there are always deeper layers of the onion, so to speak. So let’s peel back a few
layers and see some of the ideas about who this mysterious person is.
The ideas presented come from the sages and other scholars and are not original thinking on
my part. Some say the stranger was an angel. This is a reasonable possibility in that in the
past we have seen where angels, or malech appear as men. All you have to do is recall
Abraham’s encounter with the three strangers that approached his tent. The Messianic
perspective is that the pre-incarnate Messiah was accompanied by two angels. The same two
angels who went on to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.
There are those who believe the stranger was Esau, Jacob’s estranged brother who came
during the night. They cite that when we look into the faces of those we have wronged, it is
like looking into the face of G-d. Hence, Jacob’s statement above where he says he has seen
the face of G-d and survived! While this is not my favorite explanation, it at least explains why
the stranger had to leave before the sun rose. In the daylight, it would have revealed Esau’s
identity.
There are those who believe this entire encounter is nothing more than a metaphor for Jacob
wrestling with his conscience. On some levels, this is a good lesson and we could make good
application from this. While this may be good food for thought and contemplation, it seems to
diminish the actual event.
My personal favorite way of looking at this section is as follows. Could it be that the preincarnate
Messiah appeared to Jacob? Again this would not have been the first time He
appeared to man. We know Jacob was afraid of his brother and was likely crying out to G-d.
Jacob certainly understood and demonstrated one thing for certain. He absolutely believed
that this person who showed up had great power and authority. This is demonstrated by the
fact that he refused to let Him go until He blessed Jacob. Jacob also allowed Him to change
his name and had the power to with one touch place Jacob in a state of permanent disability of
sorts. Once again, I’ll point out that Jacob declared that he had seen the face of G-d. Instead
of the metaphorical way that some say it was said, could it have been literal? Perhaps this is
why the stranger was veiled by night so that His face could not been seen so that Jacob may
live!
Whatever you take away from this lesson I hope you at least grab onto the concept of wrestling
with G-d. Sometimes the circumstances of life leave us in a place where perhaps a little
desperation sets in and we finally become convinced that nobody but G-d can save us! It is in
this place that we can learn from Jacob. In those times, we need to reach out, grab a firm hold
and refuse to let go until we receive that which we need.
May we all learn to lay a firm hold upon G-d an never let go. Shalom!

Parasha Vayetze  Week ending November 17, 2018
Torah – Genesis 28:10-32:3          Haftarah – Hosea 12:13-14:10

Brit Chadashah – John 1:19-51

Vayetze (and he went out) is our focus for this week as we study parasha (portion.)
We will be staying in chapter 28 of Genesis and looking at a few things you will likely find
interesting. Hopefully, this study will whet your appetite to dig a little deeper on your own as
you study G-d’s Word.
Genesis 28:11-22, “So he came to a certain place and stayed there all night, because the sun
had set. And he took one of the stones of that place and put it at his head, and he lay down in
that place to sleep. 12 Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder [was] set up on the earth, and
its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of G-d were ascending and descending on it.
13 And behold, the L-RD stood above it and said: “I [am] the L-RD G-d of Abraham your father
and the G-d of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. 14
“Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west
and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the
earth shall be blessed. 15 “Behold, I [am] with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will
bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.”
16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the L-RD is in this place, and I did not
know [it].” 17 And he was afraid and said, “How awesome [is] this place! This [is] none other
than the house of G-d, and this [is] the gate of heaven!” 18 Then Jacob rose early in the
morning, and took the stone that he had put at his head, set it up as a pillar, and poured oil on
top of it. 19 And he called the name of that place Bethel; but the name of that city had been
Luz previously. 20 Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If G-d will be with me, and keep me in this
way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on, 21 “so that I come back
to my father’s house in peace, then the L-RD shall be my G-d. 22 “And this stone which I have
set as a pillar shall be G-d’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.”
Beginning in verse 11 “place” or “the place” is mentioned a total of four times in the above
listed verses. This repetition draws our attention to investigate deeper what is going on, as G-d
is trying to get our attention and show us something important.
Ha Macom (The Place) has more than one meaning. On the pashot, or surface level, it is
indicating location. On a deeper level, it is a reference to G-d Himself. The sages teach that
the Creator, Elohim is “The Place” of the world, but the world is not His “place.” In other
words, it shows that the world as we know it exists within a place, “The Place” which is in G-d.
This space, if you will, is here and dependent upon G-d whereas G-d is not dependent upon
this world for His existence. Hopefully, that is as clear in writing as it is in my head at the
moment!
Note the lead in to “”Place” in verse 11. Depending on the version you read, it is translated in
English as “He came to”, “He came upon”, He lighted upon” and so forth. These various
translations come from the Hebrew word “Paga.” Paga is translated more accurately as, “to
encounter, meet, entreat, make intercession, join, fall upon, touch, among some other
definitions.
I especially like the following definitions and think they are particularly important in context of
what is written and what occurred there. Encounter, intercession and touch make a whole lot
more sense to me. Instead of he came to the place it could read, “he made intercession with
G-d (The Place.). He touched G-d (The Place). He encountered G-d (The Place.) Regardless
of which one you like the best, I think you’ll see that there is more going on here than meets the
eye when reading only the English translation.
I also especially like when Ya’akov (Jacob) names the place at Bethel, or the House of G-d. We
are told that the name of the place formerly was Luz, or light. In keeping with the teaching of
the sages, this place is not only the location G-d selected for the Holy Temple, but they teach
that this is literally the place where Heaven and Earth are connected. The stone where upon
the Holy of Holies would rest was the very stone that was first created when creating the Eretz
(Earth.)
Now that your appetite has been stirred, explore the Scriptures for yourself and see what you can discover ! Shalom