Monday, December 5, 2011

Healing Rifts

Parshas Vayishlach

Re-establishing bonds/Healing Rifts
by Rav DovBer Pinson

This week's Torah reading opens with Yaakov/Jacob returning home after many years of exile. He had left his home many years earlier, to escape the wrath of his brother Esav/Esau who wished to kill him. Yaakov is now returning to make peace with his brother.

The Torah reading begins with the words “Yaakov sent angels ahead of him to his brother Esav.” [32:4]

He begins his return by sending messengers, or ‘angels.’ Angels are conduits of energy.
Sending “his angels”, represents an issuance of pure thoughts of love and reconciliation towards his brother, either through physical messengers or actual angels.

The message is relayed back to Yaakov that Esav is approaching him with four hundred men, apparently to wage war.

Realizing that Esav is not in favor of brokering peace, Yaakov prepares himself and his family for battle, prays for guidance, and finally encounters Esav.

Upon Esav’s approach, Yaakov “prostrated himself to the ground seven times, until he came close to him, to his brother. And Esav ran toward him and embraced him, and he fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.” [32:3-4]

Something crucial changed between Esav’s approach for battle and his subsequent embrace of Yaakov.

Between war and embrace, there were the seven prostrations of Yaakov - and this seems to change the entire relationship between the brothers.

When a person prostrates him/herself, they are physically breaking the straight line of their body. Spiritually, this represents a breaking of negativity or concealment. [Kidushin 29b]

Bowing is a movement that allows for an [alleged] immutable outer reality to crumble, and a new reality, one that reflects an inner truth, to emerge.

Seven is symbolic of the natural order of the world; a world created by seven in seven. The world of nature is an outer concealment that hides the miraculous, the enlivening Divine animating force and potential of everything, within it.

By prostrating seven times, Yaakov breaks the old reality that once seemed so unshakeable and revealed the truth of their story - the natural love between brothers that was always there beneath the concealments and friction.

“Until he came close to him, to his brother”

He prostrates himself until he can reach “his brother” not the external Esav who now hates him, but the inner Esav, his twin brother. This works, the outer reality falls away, and Esav responds with love, reaching out to his brother in embrace.

The Energy of the Week:
Re-establishing Bonds / Healing Rifts
This week’s Torah reading gives us the strength to repair relationships with others, particularly family, that may have been marred in the past.

The actions of Yaakov set a map for a way to reconnect.

Sending messengers, or messages if you will, is a way to begin.
Reach out carefully, being aware of the hard feelings and the need to break through.

Preparing for ‘war' represents an understanding that you are only one half of the equation, and if the good will is not reciprocated, you may have to acknowledge defeat, and wait for another time.

Prayer represents a reaching out beyond yourself - understanding that there is something greater than yourself and your estranged friend or family in this picture, and that it will affect a change for good in the entire universe if this rift is healed.

Prostrate, finally there is the need to humble our voice that wishes to hold on to an old reality and break free of what you felt to be true until now. Thus revealing a deeper truth that has been there all along.



Anonymous said...

reminds me of holy brother shlomo carlbach and his onterage of beggers throughout the world echad =ech -brother dalet = to the poor . may his merit protect us ,,,,he got it .

Klishlishi said...

Esau wasn't such a bad chap. He's only considered a rasha because his brother was such a tzaddik in comparison!Esau slew the evil world dictator Nimrod (Bava Basra 16) who had tried to kill his grandfather Abraham. If someone had killed Hitler, he'd be a hero, and we wouldn't examine his record too closely! One of the great "ifs" of history is what would have happened if Esau had remained a Yisrael instead of becoming a Yisrael Mumar (a "Renegade Israelite"). The departure of Esau from the Jewish camp is considered to have been a greater loss than that of the 10 Tribes. The mystical significance of Esau and the potential of the eight Edomite kings "who reigned in the land of Edom before there reigned any king over the children of Israel" (Breishis 36) is a major part of Lurianic Kaballah.
Had Esau accepted Jacob's leadership, very great achievements would have been possible, and the history of the world would have been entirely different. Isaac blessed Esau "you shall live by the sword", and the military prowess of his descendants Eliphaz, Zepho, Amolek and the other Edomites who went on to rule Rome, Carthage, Botzrah, Mocha, Thrace, Tyre, Sparta, Anatolia and Germania is renowned.
"You will serve your brother": the Roman Emperor Antoninus came under the enlightened influence of his teacher Judah Hanasi, and had his legions become the fighting arm of the Am Yisrael, instead of its sworn foe, they could together have conquered and Judaised the entire world! "Esav had the potential to be 1000 times greater than Yaakov, and if he had been worthy, he would have risen even higher than Moshe Rabbenu and David HaMelech. He would have merited the level of Moshiach, of Yechida of Atzilut. He could have merited to have been the Moshiach if he had repented" (Heichal Bracha, Toldos 145))