Interfaith Vayishlach


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Gen 32:4 - 36:43 by Jewish numbering. Would anyone else care to open up? I've been busy all weekend and haven't had a chance to look at this week's parsha. Don't be shy.

dear dauer - you must be very busy, I think we are at 28:10 through 32:3 .... remember this part has the "stone pillow" which I jumped ahead in the last parsha (so perhaps I caused the confusion) ....

I tried to read a few different dialogues about this parsha Vayishlach and I'm a little confused .... it starts with what is one of the more universally known aspects of Jacob, specifically the dream of Jacob's ladder .... yet so many of the dialogues focus on the deal with Labon for his (Jacob's wage), the specifics about the markings on the sheep and their colors, and the rivalry between Rachel and Leya .... why is Jacob's ladder not considered an important aspect of the parsha?

Why did Jacob favor Rachel over Leya? We also have the issue of the first-born again, in this case Leya has the first born son and the firstborn is entitled to inherit a double portion of the father's possessions (the father may not transfer this right to the son of the preferred wife - the second wife). Why do the women keep offering their servants as child-bearers to the men?

Jacob works for Laban as a shepherd and when he decides it is time to leave, Laban realizes that his flocks have flourished under Jacob's care so he begins a process to bargain for a wage to Jacob. Now here is the interesting part .... Jacob agrees to tend Laban's flocks in exchange for ownership of all spotted or marked labms and goats born from that day onward .... further he tells Laban to remove from the flock any sheep or goat with these markings so there will be no mistake about members of the flock born subsequent ot he agreement are clearly Jacob's .... yet the deal seems odd, Jacob is left with only solid colored sheep and goats and it is likely that they will produce solid colored offsping .... why did Jacob make such a deal and why did he have the spotted members of the flock removed? Why is there such conflict between Laban and Jacob?
forgot to add, aren't we on VaYetze? or did we skip this one .... I'm a little confused .... aloha nui, poh
OK - I'm back for the third time and it appears that you are correct dauer .... we are at Vayishlach .... so I will do some reading and catch up again ....aloha nui, poh p.s. I just got a copy of the JPS Tanakh (Hebrew-English) and now I have to get use to reading from right to left, it took me awhile to find the front of the book ....I'll try to pose some questions if no one else does as soon as I complete the reading ....
There is apparently a very concerted emphasis on the face in this parsha .... starting with "after I shall look on his face, perhaps he will show me a kindly face" and then the name change from Jacob to Israel just before "and Jacob called the name of the place Peniel,meaning "I have seen God face to face and I came out alive." Why is the "face to face" so important into this parsha? The word Peniel builds on "face to face" (panim 'el panim). Note: in Hawaii the word "aloha" builds on the concept of the exchange of breath face to face .... "alo" can mean the front, the face,or the presence of someone. In this parsha when Jacob says "I came out alive" (according to the commentary) "The Hebrew says literally: "My life (or, life-breath) was saved" .... so why face-to-face?

Also in the commentary "let me placate him with the tribute that goes before me, and after I shall look on his face, perhaps he will show me a kindly face" The Hebrew actually has "face" four times in this brief speech. "Placate" is literally "cover over his face" (presumably, angry face); and "before me" can be broken down as "to my face". To "look on his face" is a locution generally used for entering the presence of royalty; and "show me a kind face" an idiom that denotes forgiveness, is literally "life up my face" (presumably, my "fallen" or dejected face."

Who changed Jacob's name to Israel, was it God that he wrestled with? the man who was no man? This is also the first reference to the "children of Israel" .

Why does Jacob divide the flock into two and later divides the children between Leah and Rachel .... I suspect there is a reason for this binary division .... also two wives on one side, two concubines on the other .... and he passed before them and bowed to the ground seven times ....

Now I'm going to quote something from the Zohar because it appears to be connected to this parsha (I could be wrong) but check it out ....

"It has been told:
When the desire arose in the Will of the White Head
to manifest Its Glory,
It arrayed, prepared and generated from the Blinding Flash
one spark, radiating in 370 directions.
The spark stood still
A pure aura emerged whirling and breathed upon teh spark.
he spark congealed
and one hard skull emerged, emanating to four sides.
Surrounded by this pure aura, the spark was contained and absorbed.
Completely absored, you think?
No, secreted within.
That is how this skull emanated to its sides.
This aura is the secret of secrets of the Ancient of Days.
Through the breath hidden in this skull
fire emanated on one side, and air on the other,
with pure aura standing over this side
and pure fire over the other.
What is fire doing here?
It is not fire,
but the spark surrounded by the pure aura illuminates 270 worlds
and from its side, Judgement comes into being.
That is why this skull is called the Hard Skull."

"This skull lights up in two colors, on this side and that.
From this pure aura
one-and-a-half million worlds emanate through the skull to His face.
That is Why He is called the Impatient One.
When necessary, His face expands and becomes long-suffering,
for then He is gazing into the Face of the Ancient of Ancients
and He feels compassion for the world...."

"It has been told:
Ten entered; seven emerged."

"These seen are the eyes of YHVH"

Are we talking about the same "face" in the parsha as described in the Zohar?

aloha nui, poh
dauer - on what day does the new parsha start .... I know we are ready to go into Vayeshev (Genesis 37-40) .... I'm reading the "Lively Parsha Overview" by Rabbi Avi Geller and this one is on Vayeshev .... just didn't know when it actually starts .... mahalo nui, poh