A couple weeks ago Toldot was approached under the assumption, since Esau and Jacob are twins they are in essence one very deep, complicated, driven individual split between two bodies. This separation of one divine spark creates an unmovable object contrasted by the unstoppable force. Vayishlach is what happens when the inevitable ramming of the horns occurs.
In this week’s portion Jacob returns to his homeland worried, and reasonably so, dividing his estate into two camps in hopes that when he meets his twin brother Esau any revenge meted out will only be felt by one side. Jacob isolates himself during the night to prepare himself for his meeting with Esau. During the night Jacob is confronted by a stranger whom he spends the rest of the evening wrestling with. Some believe this stranger to be Esau others believe him to be an angle, or a manifestation of Hashem, or even Jacob himself. Whoever Jacob wrestled with is not important what is important is how this plays into to the reunification of a Divine spark which happens the next morning.
Esau who was the extroverted half of the two was always physically strong and being that way he never had to look past the present moment to satisfy his needs. Jacob representing the introverted side was intelligent enough to know he needed time to plan and strategize in order to move towards his ultimate goal. The years he spent away working and building a large family with his wives and maidservants afforded him the time to become physically and strategically strong enough to confront Esau.
As the sun slowly rose and the dawn crept up ushering in the ultimate day of reckoning one hurdle remained for Jacob. . .he must conquer the introvert. Jacob physically overcomes the stranger only to be permantly handicapped yet reborn as Israel.
Israel, not Jacob, limps back to his camp waiting to confront the rest of his Divine spark resting within Esau. Israel, not Jacob, bows to his twin brother seven times. Esau is overcome with what he sees and embraces his brother Israel who is no longer his enemy Jacob. What a great end to a heart breaking conflict.
Vayishlach really spoke to me this week, more than I can every remember it doing in the past. Shortly after starting Circle Pit the Bimah I was forced to come to a head with myself. I was at a point were I felt overwhelmed, in other words I felt like the Greek character Atlas on a bad day. One night I had a dream where I’m in a suit walking through a city which always acts as the backdrop for most of my dreams. I’m looking past the high rise sky line into mountains covered by jungle, and I think to myself I need to walk over there for Shul since today is Friday and the sun is about to set. So I walk and walk and walk never really getting any closer to my goal, finally I get frustrated and give up, rationalizing that there will always be another Shabbat why worry about it. I then walk down a flight of steps into a basement resulting in me waking up.
The entire next day I am not my usual self, more than anything I am mad at my subconscious for giving in so easily the night before. I decided to work from home, didn’t shave or bath, really didn’t do anything except clash with myself. That night I had another dream. A huge floating albino snake slithered up to me. The serpent was approximately 10-12 feet in length and its red eyes just stared at me while its body swayed back and forth behind it. As much as snakes creep me out I just stood there and stared back. Then it happened . . .WHAM!!! the serpent strikes face first into my chest. My body sways like wheat during a breezy summers day but my feat remain rooted to the earth. Defeated the serpent flies off and in my dream reasoning I understand why it lost. During the entire confrontation its mouth was closed so it could not whisper to me and break my resolve. The next morning I reevaluated a lot of the things that where baring down on me. Those I could change I did, those I could influence to a degree I did, and those I couldn’t do anything about I just stopped obsessing over and I have felt great ever since.
The things I was wrestling with while trivial compared to what Jacob had to overcome still forced me to reconcile Jeremiah with Jeremiah. What is your biggest obstacle? How did you find peace within yourself? We want to know. Comment below or message me firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @circlepitbimah.