Parashah: “VaYishlach” (and he sent) GENESIS: 32:3-36:43....................OBADIYAH 1:1-21..............MATT 13:1-58 We see in this week's parashah, that Ya'akov is on his way home to Beth-El, He comes to his “encounter” with his brother Esav. It is a time of tension for him, as we know, he “stole” from him the blessing. Or was it really theft? Remember that Esav “sold” or “traded” his birthright for a “bowl of red lentils” so, was it really theft? Perhaps we can say that Jacob took advantage of his brother's worldliness and carnal nature, some say it was “deceit” but was it really? Jacob and Esau departed enemies, time has passed, Jacob has had much to think about. He feels perhaps guilt and remorse for having taken advantage of his brother. YHVH has blessed him with wives and children, the future “Am Yisrael” He now feels a need for “compensation” for wrong doing. Therefore, to “ease” the angry spirit of Esau, (so Jacob thinks) he sends him gifts of cattle, hoping to “cool him off” But let's think about that, is compensation necessary for wrong doing? The Torah says YES, it is. If I borrow your camera, and I drop it, break it, I will owe you another camera, if you and I have a wrestling match, and I accidentally break your hand, I would have to pay the doctor's bill, etc. This is the true meaning of “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” Just for precautionary measures, he separates his family, “just in case” Esau is still on the warpath. Can we blame Jacob? Esau is coming to meet his brother with 400 armed men! Oi Vey, why with 400 men? Armed too! Could this be an attack? Or friendship rekindled? Jacob is “Schvitzen” (sweating). But now he is about to encounter “GOD” in the flesh He says “Adonai, help!” hey God, remember your promise? To keep me safe? You aren't going back on your promise, are you? YHVH responds with a personal visit that night. The Torah says that during the night “a man wrestled with him until the break of day” Ya'akov didn't know it then, but he was wrestling with “HaMalach Elohim (The Angel of the LORD). How do we wrestle with God today? Ever think of that? Good question! Trying to find HIS perfect will for our lives is one way, dealing with “flesh vs spirit” issues is another way. Trying to get HIM to follow “us”, instead of “us” following HIM is another way. Just seeing where we fit in with his plan for our lives is a wrestling match, yet “Jacob prevails” he says, “Bless me before you go!” YHVH says to him “Your name will no longer be Ya'akov, but Yisrael” Jacob prevailed, he passed the test, and now, he has a new name. If we look at the letters; Y I S R A E L we see YaSheR – EL “Straight with God”. And the name YISRAEL has the names of the patriarchs (Ya'akov, Sarah, Riv'kah, Avraham, Leah). Israel is now surrendered to the will of YVHV. He meets Esau, the meeting is touching, no hard feelings. And Israel renders homage before his brother, a very penitent attitude. They fall upon each other’s necks and kiss and weep! The “Midrash” has a funny explanation for that. The “Midrash” (a rabbinical commentary) says that the reason Esau wept was because he tried to bite Israel's neck, yet Israel's neck has turned to iron, and Esau broke his teeth, trying to bite him! Kinda funny, but when we look at the symbolism, we see the idea of Israel being a “stiff-necked people” (I would say iron is stiff, just try to bend it) yet many will try to “bite” or destroy Israel, and Israel will prevail! But not before suffering because of having a “stiff neck”. Israel and his children go to Shechem, where we see that “Dinah is raped” and the brothers take drastic action and retaliate, destroying the city. I would say very “rash” and “violent “action. But why would they want to associate with people who are idol worshipers? Case being, they had no business there in the first place. If you are in the wrong place and at the wrong time, you're bound to get “bit”. However, Jacob (Israel) builds an altar there and called it “El-Elohei-Israel” (God, the God of Israel) He stands firm in his convictions, yet his sons have a lot to learn. There are probably many times when we act rashly, and do not so kosher things, embarrassing our relationship with YHVH. Yes, Israel was very angry with his sons, plus they used “circumcision” as a trick to weaken the men of Shechem, something sacred was used for vengeance. There are quite a few things we can learn NOT to do, by observing the “sons of Jacob”. What we learn from this Torah portion is; from wrong doing, we offer restitution, and from restitution, we get restored fellowship. But at times, we cannot offer material restitution for wrong doing, only a sincere “I am very sorry for what I did, please forgive me” and we must leave it at that, now the ball is in the other person's hand, they can either throw it back to us with forgiveness, or “throw it away” with forgiveness. We just have to leave it in God's hands. OBADIYAH 1:1-21 This prophet talks about Esau as “Edom” similar to the name “Adam” yet spelled with a “vav” Edom is condemned, for his attack on Jacob, later on, the Edomites attack the Israelites, (brothers against brothers) Edom will be “brought down from the lofty cliffs” I have been to “Edom” which is in Jordon, the city of “Petra” has many caves in the cliffs, and as tourists go through Petra, the guides tell the visitors that the cliff caves were homes to Edomites, later on they became burial places, and today, they serve as “toilets” for the tourists that have to take care of business, ( I should know, I used one of those during my visit to Petra in 1999) imagine that, how lowly Edom has fallen, from cave homes to “out-houses” We see that the promise of YHVH to Israel prevails, try to destroy, harm, attack Israel, you will be brought down. The prophet goes on to say, “do not gloat over the misfortune of Judah” Even though we know that Israel will go by the wayside, and forsake YHVH, and will receive punishment, Edom has no business being happy for that reason. It is like a brother laughs when his other brother is being punished by dad, that brother has no business to be happy, because HIS turn will come sooner or later. Today, do you know of any Edomites? There are none, yet do you know of any Israelites? Yes, there is a nation in the middle east full of Israelites, it is called “Eretz Israel” I have been there, twice! It is an honor to serve Israel as military support personnel. MATT 13:1-58 Yeshua speaks to the people in parables, He tells of the “sower of the seed” he goes on to tell his Talmidim that the people “hear but do not understand” it is because their hearts are dull, and that they are not looking for the truth. So there are today, many people who will “hear” the gospel but do not “listen” and if they do not “listen” they will not “understand” just like the sower who sowed the seed on the different soils, some did not take root, some grew but were choked out, some grew into maturity, so is the WORD of God, to some people it has no effect, on others, it is only a “pass time” or a “fad” for a while, but for others, it is the “real thing” and “life changing” has it changed your life?