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Parshat Vayishlach
Our Patriarch Jacob is about to meet his brother Esau after two decades of no contact, not even an email or a tweet, let alone a birthday or Chanukah card! The last time Jacob saw Esau, Jacob had just stolen the birthright from his brother by fooling their father Isaac into blessing Jacob, who was dressed up like Esau. Esau vowed to kill Jacob. That's why Jacob fled to his uncle Laban's farm. Now Esau was on his way to greet his brother after all these years.
Jacob tries to soften up Esau by sending all kinds of gifts to placate him before they would actually meet. But Esau had long since forgiven his brother, so when the meeting took place Esau ran toward Jacob:
וירץ עשו לקראתו ויחבקהו ויפל על צוארו
VAY'SHAKEIHU= And he kissed him. But the rabbis weren't satisfied. Manuscripts of the Torah show dots on top of the letters of the word "And he kissed him". This could have meant anything from ink spots on the page to intentionally marking off the word for erasure in future manuscripts or possibly some homiletical meaning. In our case, the rabbis had something else in mind:
Said Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar, "Whenever there is more text than dots, one expounds on the text. Whenever there are more dots than text, one expounds on the dots. But here, there is an equal number of letters and dots. From this we learn that at that moment Eisav's mercy was aroused, and he kissed Yaakov with all his heart." Rabbi Yannai replied to him, "If that's the case, then why are there dots at all? Rather, Eisav came, not to kiss Yaakov, but to bite him. Miraculously, Yaakov's neck turned to marble, and the wicked one blunted his teeth on it. Indeed, that is the meaning of they wept - Yaakov cried because of his neck; Eisav because of his teeth." (Bereishis Rabbah 78:9)
So at least some of the rabbis still had a problem with Esau, who, according to the text and not the dots, still loved his brother and was happy to be reunited with him. Esau needs the benefit of the doubt, and it is fascinating that so many commentators were not willing to give it!
Yahrzeits for
This Week
(Light the Yahrzeit Candle the evening before)

Friday, November 19, 2021 Kislev 15, 5782
 Norman Coplan, Bea Ruttenberg

Saturday, November 20, 2021 Kislev 16, 5782
Isaac Burnat, Harry Fendler, Bernice Kravchick, Frank Luka, Nathan Meyer, Hannah Schiffman

Sunday, November 21, 2021 Kislev 17, 5782
Gwen Harris, Harry Kornblau

Monday, November 22, 2021 Kislev 18, 5782
Stuart Abrams, David Celender, Gussie Cohen, Samuel Moskow,
Abe Popky, Suth Silverstein

Tuesday, November 23, 2021 Kislev 19, 5782
Aaron Lisses, Hilda Lubin, Harold Salsburg, Wilbur Troy

Wednesday. November 24, 2021 Kislev 20, 5782
Saul Felder, Pauline Friedman, Jack Lach, Paula Singer, Joseph Wasserstrom

Thursday, November 25, 2021 Kislev 21, 5782
Brad Eckert, Gilbert Feinstein, Sheila Fendler, David Gordon, Anne Sumner

Friday, November 26, 2021 Kislev 22, 5782
Leonard Hopkins, Anita Beverly Israel, Anna Sare


May their Memories Serve as a Blessing


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