Esav like a brother
Yaakov sends messages to Eisav to try to welcome him in peace, to make a relationship that is peaceful. The messengers come to tell him that Esav is coming with 400 men. Yaakov prepares in three ways. With presents, war and prayer. These were Yaakov’s efforts that he did, because Esav was coming towards him with 400 men. Yaakov asks in his prayer, please Hashem save me from my brother Esav. Rashi says save me from my brother means from a brother that acts evilly towards me. It is important to understand this Rashi. When Yaakov prepared for war, he wasn’t afraid of the strength because he trusted in Hashem regarding safety. Yaakov was afraid of the brotherhood of Esav, that perhaps Esav would show him a friendly face and the children will see an uncle and this was a great danger, the fact that Esav would become close more than his being an enemy and fighting him. Save me from my brother that my children would not see him as an uncle, because this type of relationship would influence them for bad.
The whole household, the chinuch the good upraising was now in danger from the possible influence of Esav which could tear down the whole structure of the household. This brother could tear apart the mothers from their children and all the weak people in the hand of Yaakov. Yaakov was afraid that they should not get caught up in this net. It felt like a death sentence to him and he prayed that Hashem should help him with this. The angel that was the general of Esav hinted to Yaakov when they fought that when he could not win over Yaakov, he hurt him in his thigh, because he could not conquer Yaakov, perhaps he could conquer his children, the children Esav would try to catch in his net. The thigh refers to the descendants of the person. The fact that the malach of Esav did hurt him in his thigh means that Esav presents a danger to Yaakov’s descendants.
When they met face to face and Esav spoke softly to Yaakov, he said I am not going to move from here, Esav wanted to be close to Yaakov and not move away. Yaakov saw that there was a danger of spiritual destruction that is potentially there if Esav would be attached to him. In one day Esav could destroy all of the wonderful education they got in the house of Yaakov. We do not want our children close to the influences of evil people that would tear apart our soul. There is no way to deal with the problems except to not become close to them and to go very far away from such influences.
Fortunate is the person that fears always
Yaakov learned 14 years in the Yeshiva shem vever and did not sleep. He was learning Torah non-stop and he was preparing himself to withstand the challenges that he was going to meet up with. Afterwards he worked another 6 years and he did not sleep at all. All these 20 years, he did not lay down, he just said tehillim. So for 34 years he was learning Torah and saying tehillim and all that time he lifted his challenges and came out pure and saw the revelation of Hashem and stood in the vision of the ladder and in the end he showed him that he met the camps of angels of Hashem. With all this, it says Yaakov was afraid. Why was he afraid? He was afraid that perhaps there would be a problem. The great fear would take hold of a person, this type of fear that Yaakov, who was the choice of all the fathers, and after all the hard work in the Torah, there was a revelation and a promise that Hashem said He would watch him wherever he goes, but he was afraid a sin would come and destroy everything. There is no promise for a soul of a person when it comes to failing in a cheit, a sin.
A person that goes against the tide and gets to the top of the mountain and circumvents the pitfalls, he gets his desires and there is the possibilities that they would go down and fall off the mountain after he climbed up? What is the possibility that he would lose his footing on the mountain and all the years of learning would go to waste? If a person learns Torah for many years then in the blink of an eye, anything could turn over and turn into a whole bonfire. How is it possible to stand and be strong and not to fall off? That is only if a person is afraid always. If so he won’t take his daas off a situation because he is afraid of falling. If a person always fears, then from Shemayim they will help him that he should not fall. Dovid said my soul is in my palms always. The fact that he is afraid for the soul, the fear itself guards him that he will not forget the Torah and won’t leave it. Because they had so much despair from the dangers of doing a sin, Yaakov won and he taught us the way to go. Fortunate is the man that is fearful always. Because he was afraid of the cheit, that is what kept him from losing his Torah. A person should always be afraid of doing something wrong and to ask Hashem to keep him strong and growing and keep him the right way.
The three ways he prepared gifts, prayer and war
Rashi says he prepared a nice gift to make his anger dissipate. He prayed to Hashem and prepared fore war. These are our Avos, a sign for the children. What happened to the Avos Torah wrote down so we would know how to handle every situation according to the Avos. Yaakov is the sign of holiness and Esav is the sign of impurity. This is a war between the two and everyone is involved with it. The yetzer tov and the yetzer hara, they fight within to impurity or to holiness and a person has to make the good inclination overcome the evil inclination because if not he falls into the sitras achra, the people that do evil.
There were people that could not overcome the yetzer hara. They could not overcome the physical realm as well. There were some people that did not find any other way to overcome their evil inclination only to withdraw from all pleasures that are not spiritual, any material pleasures they would keep themselves away and this is how they built a little fortress to protect them from the world outside. Nevertheless this is not the way that is appropriate for the multitudes. With this type of fortress the yetzer hara can also break it down.
What is the way to make the spirit of holiness overcome the impurities. How do we get the strength of Yaakov to overcome the strength of Esav? Presents are to give the body what it needs, not to take yourself away from materialistic things that make a person enjoy the world, according to the Torah. Tefilla is to ask Hashem with all our hearts to make our inclinations worship you. If Hashem doesn’t help, we can’t overcome. We have to cry to be able to withstand the bitter challenges that come in our lives hour by hour. And the third way is war. To fight the deceptions of the evil inclination and the traps, to fight like a lion against the enemy that wants to destroy us, this war that we have to do with our hands, to know that Hashem is the warrior and in terms of our part, what are we? Only with Hashem can we win this war. We have to fight it but if we are successful, it is not really us, it is the help of Hashem.
Those are the three ways we learn from Yaakov how to fight our yetzer hara and to overcome the strength of tuma.
War of Life
There is a war that surrounds all people all the time when we get up in the morning until we go to sleep and all through life. A person has to fight with his surroundings it is not good and in his house as well. The children he has to give a good education or else they will go off the track. With himself he has to fight because he has within his soul things that could be very bitter. He has to work on himself to remove any bad character attributes, to overcome in himself. Yaakov when he fought with Esav is the fight of the powers of all impurity. Presents, prayer and war. We have to use these three things in our life and this way we fight our surroundings, with war, not to give in, not to make compromises, not to compromise on cheshbon of the Torah, then we lost the war, in community and in individual. We have to know how to bring back our lost brothers, that we have to know that sometimes we try to bring them closer to us but we should make sure we don’t come closer to their way of thinking. Also with our children we have to act, show them a face that is angry according to what is the situation, sometimes we have to fight with them and sometimes we have to give them presents to win them over. Nevertheless, we need help from heaven and a lot of prayer and a lot of crying that Hashem should give us the wisdom and patience to win and be matzliach.
Yaakov’s neck became stone
Parsha talks about Esav and the malachim came and said your brother Esav and Yaakov davened to be saved from Esav . The twelve tribes in the future will be the foundation of Klal Yisrael. Because of the dangers from Esav Yaakov was so afraid twice. Esav could destroy the soul of his family and he was afraid of him as a brother to speak softly to his household that they would learn from his deeds. Esav could destroy in deed and in spirituality. Yaakov gave presents, war and tefilla to stay out of any sort of relationship with him. Yaakov told Esav that he lived with Lavan and still kept 613 mitzvahs. Yaakov was living with Lavan 20 years. He didn’t learn from him and his essence was not destroyed. Don’t think in your soul you are going to accomplish more than Lavan. When Esav saw his brother after all those years he felt hatred towards him and was thinking about how to destroy him, either with his body, physically to kill him, or if he doesn’t win over, with his soul by giving him a kiss, to withdraw the soul from him, to take out the soul from him.
He kissed him and he bit him, and either way it is good for Esav. Yaakov in that hour? His neck became like a stone. He tried to show Esav that Esav is not going to win him over. Here is a lesson for life, how we should withstand the exile, against all the people that tried to overcome them. To not go away, like one piece of stone, to not go away from the path of Yaakov, not to humble themselves to those who destroy spiritually. And not to get overwhelmed or influenced from their soft words that they try to tell us.
The final words is that Yaakov had wealth, his money was complete. There are some that have much money and some have a lack. Those with money can purify their souls but also could fall down to great depths. Yaakov lived by the deceiver Lavan and he knew every lie and conniving trick and how to get money out of others. But Yaakov was honest and in shemayim they gave him the opportunity to be successful and made his flock great. The money was his. They said that all the wealth that Yaakov had came from Hashem for us and for Yaakov and for his children. Such money is really very special to the people who have it. From the work, they are careful with the money and they don’t just throw it around, even for the small vessels he went back to get them. Even that they had money, he was careful it should not go to waste.
People don’t treat the money they have with respect. Sometimes people throw their money to waste and sometimes we see that places have a lot of seforim and siddurim and sometimes they change them to new seforim. That was not Yaakov’s ways. He left small vessels and he didn’t feel badly about going back he didn’t want anything to go to waste. We have to know that the money we have is to do mitzvahs and tzedakah. He was shaleim in his material aspect and his body and in his Torah. The money was not something that would hurt him or his Torah. For all the things in this world all the difficult things we can get, Yaakov dealt with them in the way of these are temporary, in a temporary dwelling place, and if a person lives life this way, then he is a complete person. Be careful with the money and use it for mitzvahs, tzedakah and good things. Yaakov was careful in this way, not to waste money on silliness. This is just a temporary dwelling place