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Veyischlach - November 21, 2021 - Torah Portion

This week’s Torah Portion is Genesis 32:4-36:43 and is called Veyishlach which means “And he sent”. Micah 4;”Come let us go up..” Matthew 2:13-23 (Rachel weeping over her children)

To recap: After the incident at Bethel and Jacob’s dream of the ladder, he is still on the run from Esau because he stole his blessing, and he comes to a well in Haran and meets Rachel.

He works for her father for 7 years in the hope to marry Rachel but on his wedding night he was deceived by Laban and found out that he had married her sister Leah instead – Anyway he did get to marry his beloved Rachel a week later and two handmaidens joined the family Bilah and Zilpah providing he worked for Laban for another 7 years.

In that second 7 year period all 11 sons were born.

Leah gives birth to six sons—Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar and Zebulun—and finally a daughter, Dinah; (Gen:30:20) Bilah gives birth to Dan and Naphtali, Zilpah has Gad and Asher while Rachel, although barren, eventually has Joseph. Benjamin is born 7 years later in Bethlehem.

Laban persuades him to remain, now offering him sheep in return for 6 more years of labor. No children are born during that time. Jacob prospers, despite Laban’s repeated attempts to swindle him. After six years, Jacob leaves Haran to return to Israel in stealth fearing that Laban would prevent him from leaving with the family and property for which he labored.

We pick up the story in this week’s Torah portion which starts in Genesis 32 as Jacob prepares to meet Esau.

Jacob is a man always on the run and now he is running from Laban. Laban pursues Jacob, but is warned by God in a dream not to harm him. Laban and Jacob make a pact on Mount Galeed, attested to by a pile of stones.

Now it is time to go back to the land promised to him and he’s about to encounter his brother, Esau and he is terrified.

God has already promised Jacob his inheritance in the land but still he cries out to God in Gen 32:10-12 “I’m unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant. I had only my staff when I crossed the Jordan but now, I have become two groups. Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me and also the mothers with the children. But you have said, “I will surely make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted."

That night Jacob sent his servants and all the others ahead of him with the herds. He took his two wives and his 11 sons who crossed the ford at the Jabok river. He commands his messengers to go before him to meet Esau and to say, “Your servant Jacob has been staying with Laban until now and I have cattle and donkey’s, sheep and goats, menservants and maidservants and now I am sending this message to my lord that I may find favour in your eyes."

Jacob is always running from a fight and is left alone and is about to enter a fight he can’t run from – now he has to face his problems head on but what happens next? He ends up fighting with an angel!

The thing that is most noteworthy in this week‘s Torah portion is the famous wrestling match between Jacob and the angel of the Lord. We pick the story up from Genesis 32: verse 24 It reads,

24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”

But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

27 The man asked him, “What is your name?”

“Jacob,” he answered.

28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel,[a] because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.”

29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”

But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.

30 So Jacob called the place Peniel,[b] saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”

31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel,[c] and he was limping because of his hip.

He was wrestling with a man who was also God. - YESHUA – Jesus and by implication, we enter our own wrestling match with God through the issues we are faced with, in coming to know who we are, and what our true identity is, and to discover whether we are a member of those to whom the blessing applies. Whether we do or not, will we allow ourselves to receive the blessing of God?

And so Jacob is our teacher, showing us the way we can overcome the shame of our old nature, and family issues concerning our natural life and our higher calling in Messiah.

Before Jacob could return from his exile of 20 years with Laban, he had to face his fears and wrestle with God and return to the hope and promise of his forefathers. The outcome of the wrestling was a blessing signified by his new name “Israel”, meaning the one who perseveres with God.

Jacob finally prevails with God when the power of his faith overcame the pain of his past. Jacob finally won the fight by submitting himself to God. The token dislocated hip was his surrender to the angel. It was only when his flesh was wounded, that he was empowered by God to take hold of the realm of promise signified by his return to Bethel – The House of God. The story is ultimately about death and resurrection. Wounded so that he could know that the Lord gives power to the faint hearted where He increases his strength.

Tozer reminds us to “not trust a man or woman of God who does not walk with a limp”. The limp is a token of the struggle. A token of the inner act of surrender - you can’t have surrender without it.

The story teaches us that before we can turn from our place of exile we have to face our fears and wrestle over who we really are as well. Each of us must be renamed from Jacob “manipulator” to Israel, “one who surrenders” to God’s power and blessing in our lives.

Jacob lifts up his eyes and behold Esau is coming with 400 men. Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed so he divides up the family, the people with him, the flocks, herds and camels into two bands. This shows that the struggle was not only spiritual but physical. Jacob who was broken, alone, wounded, hurt, and needy admitted his weaknesses and he acknowledged his dependency on God and that is why he was an overcomer.

Be encouraged everyone, when we are broken, alone, wounded and hurt, in our weaknesses, as we depend on God alone, He will make us overcomers, too, even though we walk with a limp.

Jacob divides the children with their mothers and he puts Rachel and Joseph last.

This man is a changed man now that God has touched him, and he goes ahead and passes before all of them. He now does not lead from behind - but faces his problems head on, bows to Esau who runs to meet him fell on his neck and he kissed him.

Some Rabbis say the kiss was a bite. You will not see this in English. You will only see this in Hebrew. וַׄיִּׄשָּׁׄקֵ֑ׄהׄוּׄ Kiss.

Teeth marks marked as dots above each letter of the word kiss are in every Torah scroll. It’s more like a Judas kiss - a deceptive kiss! It would appear there is no reconciliation with Esau here.

Jacob lifts his eyes and sees the women and the children bow down to Esau. Benjamin, who was not yet born, did not bow down to Esau.

That’s important to remember because Esau’s grandson is Amalek, the arch enemy of Israel, who also has a murderous spirit. 550 years later, in the story of Esther, Mordecai, who was a Benjamite, would not bow down to Haman from the tribe of Amalek. This anti Semitic spirit is trying to wipe Israel off the face of the earth to this day through the sons of Esau.

Esau says to Jacob to come with me but Jacob says no way! He says the flocks are young and the youngest of the children are small and we cannot drive them, so we will continue on at the pace of the cattle and children. The youngest children, Dinah and Joseph, are only 6 years old.

Jacob is in Succot and God tells him to go back to Bethel – The House of God. However, he goes to Shechem. Dinah by this time is just 13 at the most and is raped by the Prince of Shechem and all hell breaks loose with the slaughter of the men in Shechem by Simeon and Levi who were only about 16 and 17 years old – The Jewish history book called “The Midrashic” (see link below) says Simeon was just 14(i) which would make Dinah even younger. They were just young teenagers taking revenge for their sister’s defilement – a serious crime then and today! Read the story for yourselves in Chapter 34. (i)

However, Jacob reprimands the boys in chapter 34:30 for causing trouble in the land of Canaan and saying, “Making me a stench to the people”. They seem to be saying, “You might not consider your daughter worthy enough to defend her honour, but she is our sister, and you don’t care! If Dinah was raped, her own pain and anguish must be heard over the violent clamor in defense of male honor. Jacob’s sons looted the city and took all the pagan idols from Shechem, kept them and left the area in haste.

God says to Jacob “Go to Bethel the House of God. Jacob tells his sons to get rid of all the idols, be clean and change your garments and we will go to The House of God. However, Rachel, who stole her father’s pagan idols when they left Haran, hid them and never gave them up.

Micah 4: Reads In the last days the Mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established as chief among the mountains… Nations will say, “Come let us go up to the Mountain of the Lord, to the House of the God of Jacob”. That’s Bethel – Temple mount in Jerusalem today.

Rachel goes into labour in Ephrath, which is Bethlehem and dies giving birth to Benjamin. Rachel was a shepherdess, and her name means “lamb”. She dies where another lamb is born in Bethlehem -The Lamb of God. Over her tomb, Jacob set up a pillar called “The Tower of the Flock” that marks Rachel’s tomb even today. Genesis 35:20

Micah 4:8 “As for you, O “Watchtower of the Flock”, O stronghold of the Daughter of Zion, the former dominion will be restored to you. Kingship will come to the Daughter of Zion”.

This is the prophetic portion for this week and was being taught long before Messiah was born.

Micah 5:2 “But you Bethlehem Ephra-thah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel whose origins are from old from ancient times.”

Did you know all lambs born in Bethlehem are born around this “Tower of the Flock”. The sacrificial lambs prepared for Passover only came from Bethlehem. The shepherds would wrap these lambs in swaddling clothes to protect them from harm and damage and lay them in a manger, because they had to be perfect spotless lambs. They laid them in a temporary shelter called a Succot.

About 2000 years later, when the angels appeared to the shepherds in the fields keeping watch over their flocks by night, at the “Tower of the Flock”, they knew where to find baby Jesus.

The angel said, “You will find the babe, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger” - In that very shelter where they laid their lambs for Passover.

Our Passover Lamb, pure and spotless, born in Bethlehem, in a Succot, in a temporary shelter, and laid in a manger, during the “Feast of Tabernacles” meaning God with Us.

Shabbat Shalom

(i) The midrashic book of Jasher, argues that it was Simeon who deceived Hamor by insisting that the men of Shechem would need to be circumcised. It goes on to argue that Simeon was extremely strong, despite only being 14 years old, and was able to slaughter all the men of Shechem nearly single-handedly, only having assistance from his brother Levi, and captured 100 young women, marrying the one named "Bonah".[3]

Notes from Hebrew4Christians: and El Shaddai Ministries:

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