A Taste of Torah – Parshas Vayishlach

Written by: Rabbi Mordechai Raizman

In G-d We Trust

In this week’s Parsha, Vayishlach, Yaakov faces a dilemma. He is about to encounter his brother, Esav, who hates him and continues to plot against him. Because of their history, Yaakov has no idea how Esav will behave when they finally meet. The parsha teaches us that Yaakov prepares for this confrontation by doing three things. First, he sends Esav a present. Second, he prepares his camp for war. Third, he prays to Hashem for a peaceful meeting.

The unusual point to note about these preparations is that the Torah also states twice that Vayolen Shom, and Yaakov slept. Two questions arise from this statement. First, how could it be possible for Yaakov to sleep when he is preparing for a confrontation that might conclude with his death? Secondly, why does the Torah assert that Yaakov slept twice?

With these two mentions of Yaakov’s sleeping, the Torah teaches us an important lesson for life. Yaakov did everything he could possibly do to be ready for his encounter with Esav. He sends the customary present, makes the necessary preparations for war, and he prays to Hashem for a successful outcome. At this point, Yaakov understands that there is nothing else he can do to guarantee a positive conclusion when he meets with Esav. He realizes that the meeting between Esav and himself is in Hashem’s hands. Having faith in Hashem, he peacefully sleeps recognizing that not everything is in his control.

This is a valuable lesson for us to emulate. It is only natural for us to fret over circumstances that concern us even when they are not in our control. From Yaakov’s behavior we learn that the first step in dealing with unpleasant situations is to put forth our strongest efforts in the hopes of solving them. The second step is the acknowledgement that sometimes we do not have the ability to control everything and after doing our best, it is time to move on. This step is a difficult position to accept but a crucial one for our own peace of mind and true Bitachon (trust) in Hashem.