How are we first introduced to Ya'akov and Esav? How are they characterized?
What are their relationships with their parents like? How could this cause problems?
This scene should be familiar to you. What's happening in this scene?
Who's in the right? Who's in the wrong?
How would you describe Ya'akov's actions? Esav's?
(א) וַיְהִי֙ כִּֽי־זָקֵ֣ן יִצְחָ֔ק וַתִּכְהֶ֥יןָ עֵינָ֖יו מֵרְאֹ֑ת וַיִּקְרָ֞א אֶת־עֵשָׂ֣ו ׀ בְּנ֣וֹ הַגָּדֹ֗ל וַיֹּ֤אמֶר אֵלָיו֙ ...(ג) וְעַתָּה֙ שָׂא־נָ֣א כֵלֶ֔יךָ תֶּלְיְךָ֖ וְקַשְׁתֶּ֑ךָ וְצֵא֙ הַשָּׂדֶ֔ה וְצ֥וּדָה לִּ֖י צידה [צָֽיִד׃] (ד) וַעֲשֵׂה־לִ֨י מַטְעַמִּ֜ים כַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר אָהַ֛בְתִּי וְהָבִ֥יאָה לִּ֖י וְאֹכֵ֑לָה בַּעֲב֛וּר תְּבָרֶכְךָ֥ נַפְשִׁ֖י בְּטֶ֥רֶם אָמֽוּת׃
(ה) וְרִבְקָ֣ה שֹׁמַ֔עַת בְּדַבֵּ֣ר יִצְחָ֔ק אֶל־עֵשָׂ֖ו בְּנ֑וֹ וַיֵּ֤לֶךְ עֵשָׂו֙ הַשָּׂדֶ֔ה לָצ֥וּד צַ֖יִד לְהָבִֽיא׃ (ו) וְרִבְקָה֙ אָֽמְרָ֔ה אֶל־יַעֲקֹ֥ב בְּנָ֖הּ לֵאמֹ֑ר הִנֵּ֤ה שָׁמַ֙עְתִּי֙ אֶת־אָבִ֔יךָ מְדַבֵּ֛ר אֶל־עֵשָׂ֥ו אָחִ֖יךָ לֵאמֹֽר׃ (ז) הָבִ֨יאָה לִּ֥י צַ֛יִד וַעֲשֵׂה־לִ֥י מַטְעַמִּ֖ים וְאֹכֵ֑לָה וַאֲבָרֶכְכָ֛ה לִפְנֵ֥י ה' לִפְנֵ֥י מוֹתִֽי׃ (ח) וְעַתָּ֥ה בְנִ֖י שְׁמַ֣ע בְּקֹלִ֑י לַאֲשֶׁ֥ר אֲנִ֖י מְצַוָּ֥ה אֹתָֽךְ׃ (ט) לֶךְ־נָא֙ אֶל־הַצֹּ֔אן וְקַֽח־לִ֣י מִשָּׁ֗ם שְׁנֵ֛י גְּדָיֵ֥י עִזִּ֖ים טֹבִ֑ים וְאֶֽעֱשֶׂ֨ה אֹתָ֧ם מַטְעַמִּ֛ים לְאָבִ֖יךָ כַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר אָהֵֽב׃ (י) וְהֵבֵאתָ֥ לְאָבִ֖יךָ וְאָכָ֑ל בַּעֲבֻ֛ר אֲשֶׁ֥ר יְבָרֶכְךָ֖ לִפְנֵ֥י מוֹתֽוֹ׃
(1) When Isaac was old and his eyes were too dim to see, he called his older son Esau and said to him, ... "Take your gear, your quiver and bow, and go out into the open and hunt me some game. (4) Then prepare a dish for me such as I like, and bring it to me to eat, so that I may give you my innermost blessing before I die.”
(5) Rebekah had been listening as Isaac spoke to his son Esau. When Esau had gone out into the open to hunt game to bring home, (6) Rebekah said to her son Jacob, “I overheard your father speaking to your brother Esau, saying, (7) ‘Bring me some game and prepare a dish for me to eat, that I may bless you, with the LORD’s approval, before I die.’ (8) Now, my son, listen carefully as I instruct you. (9) Go to the flock and fetch me two choice kids, and I will make of them a dish for your father, such as he likes. (10) Then take it to your father to eat, in order that he may bless you before he dies.”
What is Yitzchak asking of Esav here? Why?
Take A Closer Look:
This plan that is being concocted will eventually "ruin" both Ya'akov and Esav's lives.
Who was the actual mastermind behind the plan?
(ל) וַיְהִ֗י כַּאֲשֶׁ֨ר כִּלָּ֣ה יִצְחָק֮ לְבָרֵ֣ךְ אֶֽת־יַעֲקֹב֒ וַיְהִ֗י אַ֣ךְ יָצֹ֤א יָצָא֙ יַעֲקֹ֔ב מֵאֵ֥ת פְּנֵ֖י יִצְחָ֣ק אָבִ֑יו וְעֵשָׂ֣ו אָחִ֔יו בָּ֖א מִצֵּידֽוֹ׃ (לא) וַיַּ֤עַשׂ גַּם־הוּא֙ מַטְעַמִּ֔ים וַיָּבֵ֖א לְאָבִ֑יו וַיֹּ֣אמֶר לְאָבִ֗יו יָקֻ֤ם אָבִי֙ וְיֹאכַל֙ מִצֵּ֣יד בְּנ֔וֹ בַּעֲב֖וּר תְּבָרֲכַ֥נִּי נַפְשֶֽׁךָ׃ (לב) וַיֹּ֥אמֶר ל֛וֹ יִצְחָ֥ק אָבִ֖יו מִי־אָ֑תָּה וַיֹּ֕אמֶר אֲנִ֛י בִּנְךָ֥ בְכֹֽרְךָ֖ עֵשָֽׂו׃ (לג) וַיֶּחֱרַ֨ד יִצְחָ֣ק חֲרָדָה֮ גְּדֹלָ֣ה עַד־מְאֹד֒ וַיֹּ֡אמֶר מִֽי־אֵפ֡וֹא ה֣וּא הַצָּֽד־צַיִד֩ וַיָּ֨בֵא לִ֜י וָאֹכַ֥ל מִכֹּ֛ל בְּטֶ֥רֶם תָּב֖וֹא וָאֲבָרֲכֵ֑הוּ גַּם־בָּר֖וּךְ יִהְיֶֽה׃ (לד) כִּשְׁמֹ֤עַ עֵשָׂו֙ אֶת־דִּבְרֵ֣י אָבִ֔יו וַיִּצְעַ֣ק צְעָקָ֔ה גְּדֹלָ֥ה וּמָרָ֖ה עַד־מְאֹ֑ד וַיֹּ֣אמֶר לְאָבִ֔יו בָּרֲכֵ֥נִי גַם־אָ֖נִי אָבִֽי׃ (לה) וַיֹּ֕אמֶר בָּ֥א אָחִ֖יךָ בְּמִרְמָ֑ה וַיִּקַּ֖ח בִּרְכָתֶֽךָ׃ (לו) וַיֹּ֡אמֶר הֲכִי֩ קָרָ֨א שְׁמ֜וֹ יַעֲקֹ֗ב וַֽיַּעְקְבֵ֙נִי֙ זֶ֣ה פַעֲמַ֔יִם אֶת־בְּכֹרָתִ֣י לָקָ֔ח וְהִנֵּ֥ה עַתָּ֖ה לָקַ֣ח בִּרְכָתִ֑י וַיֹּאמַ֕ר הֲלֹא־אָצַ֥לְתָּ לִּ֖י בְּרָכָֽה׃ (לז) וַיַּ֨עַן יִצְחָ֜ק וַיֹּ֣אמֶר לְעֵשָׂ֗ו הֵ֣ן גְּבִ֞יר שַׂמְתִּ֥יו לָךְ֙ וְאֶת־כָּל־אֶחָ֗יו נָתַ֤תִּי לוֹ֙ לַעֲבָדִ֔ים וְדָגָ֥ן וְתִירֹ֖שׁ סְמַכְתִּ֑יו וּלְכָ֣ה אֵפ֔וֹא מָ֥ה אֶֽעֱשֶׂ֖ה בְּנִֽי׃ (לח) וַיֹּ֨אמֶר עֵשָׂ֜ו אֶל־אָבִ֗יו הַֽבְרָכָ֨ה אַחַ֤ת הִֽוא־לְךָ֙ אָבִ֔י בָּרֲכֵ֥נִי גַם־אָ֖נִי אָבִ֑י וַיִּשָּׂ֥א עֵשָׂ֛ו קֹל֖וֹ וַיֵּֽבְךְּ׃ (לט) וַיַּ֛עַן יִצְחָ֥ק אָבִ֖יו וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֵלָ֑יו הִנֵּ֞ה מִשְׁמַנֵּ֤י הָאָ֙רֶץ֙ יִהְיֶ֣ה מֽוֹשָׁבֶ֔ךָ וּמִטַּ֥ל הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם מֵעָֽל׃ (מ) וְעַל־חַרְבְּךָ֣ תִֽחְיֶ֔ה וְאֶת־אָחִ֖יךָ תַּעֲבֹ֑ד וְהָיָה֙ כַּאֲשֶׁ֣ר תָּרִ֔יד וּפָרַקְתָּ֥ עֻלּ֖וֹ מֵעַ֥ל צַוָּארֶֽךָ׃ (מא) וַיִּשְׂטֹ֤ם עֵשָׂו֙ אֶֽת־יַעֲקֹ֔ב עַל־הַ֨בְּרָכָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר בֵּרֲכ֖וֹ אָבִ֑יו וַיֹּ֨אמֶר עֵשָׂ֜ו בְּלִבּ֗וֹ יִקְרְבוּ֙ יְמֵי֙ אֵ֣בֶל אָבִ֔י וְאַֽהַרְגָ֖ה אֶת־יַעֲקֹ֥ב אָחִֽי׃ (מב) וַיֻּגַּ֣ד לְרִבְקָ֔ה אֶת־דִּבְרֵ֥י עֵשָׂ֖ו בְּנָ֣הּ הַגָּדֹ֑ל וַתִּשְׁלַ֞ח וַתִּקְרָ֤א לְיַעֲקֹב֙ בְּנָ֣הּ הַקָּטָ֔ן וַתֹּ֣אמֶר אֵלָ֔יו הִנֵּה֙ עֵשָׂ֣ו אָחִ֔יךָ מִתְנַחֵ֥ם לְךָ֖ לְהָרְגֶֽךָ׃ (מג) וְעַתָּ֥ה בְנִ֖י שְׁמַ֣ע בְּקֹלִ֑י וְק֧וּם בְּרַח־לְךָ֛ אֶל־לָבָ֥ן אָחִ֖י חָרָֽנָה׃ (מד) וְיָשַׁבְתָּ֥ עִמּ֖וֹ יָמִ֣ים אֲחָדִ֑ים עַ֥ד אֲשֶׁר־תָּשׁ֖וּב חֲמַ֥ת אָחִֽיךָ׃ (מה) עַד־שׁ֨וּב אַף־אָחִ֜יךָ מִמְּךָ֗ וְשָׁכַח֙ אֵ֣ת אֲשֶׁר־עָשִׂ֣יתָ לּ֔וֹ וְשָׁלַחְתִּ֖י וּלְקַחְתִּ֣יךָ מִשָּׁ֑ם לָמָ֥ה אֶשְׁכַּ֛ל גַּם־שְׁנֵיכֶ֖ם י֥וֹם אֶחָֽד׃
(30) No sooner had Jacob left the presence of his father Isaac—after Isaac had finished blessing Jacob—than his brother Esau came back from his hunt. (31) He too prepared a dish and brought it to his father. And he said to his father, “Let my father sit up and eat of his son’s game, so that you may give me your innermost blessing.” (32) His father Isaac said to him, “Who are you?” And he said, “I am your son, Esau, your first-born!” (33) Isaac was seized with very violent trembling. “Who was it then,” he demanded, “that hunted game and brought it to me? Moreover, I ate of it before you came, and I blessed him; now he must remain blessed!” (34) When Esau heard his father’s words, he burst into wild and bitter sobbing, and said to his father, “Bless me too, Father!” (35) But he answered, “Your brother came with guile and took away your blessing.” (36) [Esau] said, “Was he, then, named Jacob that he might supplant me these two times? First he took away my birthright and now he has taken away my blessing!” And he added, “Have you not reserved a blessing for me?” (37) Isaac answered, saying to Esau, “But I have made him master over you: I have given him all his brothers for servants, and sustained him with grain and wine. What, then, can I still do for you, my son?” (38) And Esau said to his father, “Have you but one blessing, Father? Bless me too, Father!” And Esau wept aloud. (39) And his father Isaac answered, saying to him, “See, your abode shall enjoy the fat of the earth And the dew of heaven above. (40) Yet by your sword you shall live, And you shall serve your brother; But when you grow restive, You shall break his yoke from your neck.” (41) Now Esau harbored a grudge against Jacob because of the blessing which his father had given him, and Esau said to himself, “Let but the mourning period of my father come, and I will kill my brother Jacob.” (42) When the words of her older son Esau were reported to Rebekah, she sent for her younger son Jacob and said to him, “Your brother Esau is consoling himself by planning to kill you. (43) Now, my son, listen to me. Flee at once to Haran, to my brother Laban. (44) Stay with him a while, until your brother’s fury subsides— (45) until your brother’s anger against you subsides—and he forgets what you have done to him. Then I will fetch you from there. Let me not lose you both in one day!”
Take a Closer Look:
How does Esav act according to the Pesukim? Is this how we normally think of Esav? What does this side of Esav tell us?
What are Rivka's words of advice? Do you think it's good advice?
What happened to Ya'akov over the 21 years he spent away from Esav? What happened to Esav over those years, at least that we know of or can assume?
What about Ya'akov's message tells us that he's ready for a possible reconcile?
What worries Ya'akov? What does he do in response to his worries? What does this tell us about who Ya'akov is at that moment?
(יד) וַיָּ֥לֶן שָׁ֖ם בַּלַּ֣יְלָה הַה֑וּא וַיִּקַּ֞ח מִן־הַבָּ֧א בְיָד֛וֹ מִנְחָ֖ה לְעֵשָׂ֥ו אָחִֽיו׃ (יח) וַיְצַ֥ו אֶת־הָרִאשׁ֖וֹן לֵאמֹ֑ר כִּ֣י יִֽפְגָּשְׁךָ֞ עֵשָׂ֣ו אָחִ֗י וִשְׁאֵֽלְךָ֙ לֵאמֹ֔ר לְמִי־אַ֙תָּה֙ וְאָ֣נָה תֵלֵ֔ךְ וּלְמִ֖י אֵ֥לֶּה לְפָנֶֽיךָ׃ (יט) וְאָֽמַרְתָּ֙ לְעַבְדְּךָ֣ לְיַעֲקֹ֔ב מִנְחָ֥ה הִוא֙ שְׁלוּחָ֔ה לַֽאדֹנִ֖י לְעֵשָׂ֑ו וְהִנֵּ֥ה גַם־ה֖וּא אַחֲרֵֽינוּ׃
(14) After spending the night there, he selected from what was at hand these presents for his brother Esau: (18) He instructed the one in front as follows, “When my brother Esau meets you and asks you, ‘Whose man are you? Where are you going? And whose [animals] are these ahead of you?’ (19) you shall answer, ‘Your servant Jacob’s; they are a gift sent to my lord Esau; and [Jacob] himself is right behind us.’”
What is the point of Ya'akov preparing gifts for Esav? What is he hoping to accomplish? What is he worried about?
(3) He (Ya'akov) himself went on ahead and bowed low to the ground seven times until he was near his brother. (4) Esau ran to greet him. He embraced him and, falling on his neck, he kissed him; and they wept. (5) Looking about, he saw the women and the children. “Who,” he asked, “are these with you?” He answered, “The children with whom God has favored your servant.” (6) Then the maids, with their children, came forward and bowed low; (7) next Leah, with her children, came forward and bowed low; and last, Joseph and Rachel came forward and bowed low;
Take a Closer Look:
What happens when they are finally reunited?
Ya'akov was preparing for the worst possibilities - war, fighting, undying hatred - and instead, he is greeted like this. Why do you this Ya'akov underestimated him? Why do you think that Esav, who when last seen was ready to kill Ya'akov, is here embracing and kissing him?
(8) And he asked, “What do you mean by all this company which I have met?” He answered, “To gain my lord’s favor.” (9) Esau said, “I have a lot, my brother; let what you have remain yours.” (10) But Jacob said, “No, I pray you; if you would do me this favor, accept from me this gift; for to see your face is like seeing the face of God, and you have received me favorably. (11) Please accept my present which has been brought to you, for God has favored me and I have everything.” And when he urged him, he accepted.
Take a Closer Look:
Ya'akov offers Esav many presents and gifts, but at first, Esav refuses. He claims "I have a lot". Ya'akov insists and says "I have everything". Though there is a subtle difference, what is the significance between this difference in phrasing?
Take a Closer Look:
The reunion went well and Esav wants to continue to travel with Ya'akov, but Ya'akov says no, and they both eventually go their separate ways. Why?
Why does Esav want to stay with Ya'akov? Why does Ya'akov realize the right thing to do is to stay away from Esav?
What can we learn from this about successful reunions?