Sedra of the Week: Vayishlach
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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

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