"This is not my personality style" - Vayishlach

Friday, 23 November, 2018 - 6:28 am

To read it in Greek, click here


A Jew coming back from a long trip, told his friends about the wonderful things he had seen: “I met a Jew who had grown up in a Yeshiva and knew many parts of the Talmud by heart. I saw a Jew who was an atheist. I saw a Jew who had a big clothing shop and many employees. I also saw a Jew who was a communist”.

“What’s so strange about it? There are many Jews in the world!” his friends asked.

“You don’t understand” he answered, “It was the same Jew!”

In this week’s Parasha, Jacob behaves strangely. While on his way to the Holy Land, he hears that his brother Esav is coming towards him with 400 armed men. Jacob responds in 3 ways: He sends gifts to Esav, he gets ready for war and he prays to G-d.

If we think about it a little, these are three completely different and contradictory actions. Sending gifts to Esav is something positive that fosters closeness and friendship. Preparing for war is something negative that brings out something diametrically opposite, estrangement and hostility. Praying is something conflicting with the 2 others: Gifts and war are human actions, while with prayer, we put our trust in G-d. 

Some actions may have been in line with Jacob’s personality, but certainly not all of them. How could he act in 3 such contradictory ways at the same time?

Jacob knew that it was a very crucial hour and that he had to save his family and himself from Esav. In a time of danger, we cannot do only what is easy and convenient for us to do. We need to do everything in our power, whatever we think can help the situation, even if this doesn’t fit our personality.

In difficult times, let’s be creative as Jacob. Let’s use all our capacities to do something positive, Mitsvot and good actions, and to oppose the bad , even if they are not exactly within our comfort zone sometimes. But let’s not forget the most important, trust G-d and show it to Him in every possible way.

Shabbat Shalom,


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