Sedra of the Week: Vayishlach

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Sedra of the Week: Vayishlach

Head of operations at Tribe, Tamara Jacobson, looks ahead to this week's portion of the Torah

Leadership, we learn in this week’s parasha, requires bravery. Jacob lived in fear of Esau after tricking their father Isaac to receive the birthright due to his brother.

After leaving the house of Laban 20 years later, Jacob receives word that his brother is coming to confront him with 400 men. 

Rashi tells us Jacob prepares for this in three ways: he sends gifts, he prays and he prepares for war. 

Jacob was faced with a monumental choice; he could have simply fled in the opposite direction and avoided an encounter with Esau, at least for the time being. 

Instead, he chooses to confront his brother. When they meet, they embrace, kiss and cry. Jacob tells Esau: “Kach na et birchati” (“Take these gifts, take my blessing.”) The parallels to the last time they saw each other are clear. Jacob once took a blessing from Esau; now he is asking Esau to take one from him. Esau accepts and leaves in peace. 

Jacob is no longer a man on the run, neither from his previous actions nor from his own family. He has the courage to face up to a difficult situation head-on and accept the consequences. 

He chooses the more challenging path, which ultimately results in peace. 

In the words of the late Rabbi Lord Sacks, in his Covenant & Conversation: “We all have opportunities in our lives to step up and be proud to be Jews, whether in conversations, or with our external appearances, in our actions and in our choices. 

“We each need to feel proud of who we are and how we live our lives.” 

  • Tamara Jacobson is head of operations at Tribe

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish News also produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: