A Spell of Brotherliness
By Rabbi Label Lam
Then he (Yakov) went on ahead of them and bowed earthward seven times until
he reached him until his brother. Esau ran toward him, embraced him, fell on
his neck, and kissed him; then they wept. (Breishis 33:3-4)
Yakov and Eisav wept and hugged like real friendly brothers! How did that
happen? Did they suddenly become fast friends? Why did Yakov bow exactly
Here’s a neat Gematria (look at letters as numbers)! Yitzchok, the father of
both Yakov and Eisav, has the numerical value of 208.
(Yud-10+Tzadik-90+Ches-8+Kuf-90=208) 208 is 7x’s HASHEM’s (26) Holy Name.
(Yud-10+Heh-5+Vuv-6+Heh-5=26x8=208) Yakov adds up to 182 which = 7x26.
(Yud-10+Ayin-70+Kuf-90+Beis-2=182/26=7) Eisav’s name has the value of 376.
(Ayin-70+Sin-300+Vuv-6=376) The word for spiritual contamination which is
Tame’ equals 50. (Tes-9+Mem-40+Alef-1=50) Seven times Tame’ (50) is 350 plus
26 (THE NAME OF HASHEM) is 376. Now we can see that one part of holiness was
directed to Eisav but it was covered with layers of corruption. Yakov who
had seven part of holiness from his father bowed seven times. Each bowing
penetrated or removed some outer layer until he reached him until he reached
his brotherly point deep inside. Then they hugged and kissed!
How long did it last? Maybe not long at all! The rage may even have been
present at the time of the kiss, but Yakov’s multipronged strategy 1)
preparing for the eventuality of war, 2) praying, 3) sending gifts, and 4)
exercising extreme humility in front of him to shave away his ego at its
desired effect. “Rabbi Shimon says, “It’s known Hallacha, a Law of Life,
that Eisav hates, Yakov, but at that moment his mercy awake and he really
did kiss him wholeheartedly.”
What are we to learn from all this? In either- case, and in the best of
scenarios the love fest only lasted for a moment and Yakov managed to
sidestep danger that day. That was his sole goal. Not to unite or reunite
with Eisav but just not to be harmed by him and to escape whole!
There’s an old time story about a Polish Jew Moishe who was living under the
oppressive rule of a cruel porritz-landlord. The economy shrunk and Moishe
like many others found it difficult to make a living. The porritz
unyieldingly insisted upon his monthly rent. Moishe fell farther and farther
behind. The porritz grew very impatient. The porrtiz came to Moishe’s house
and threatened him- that if he did not pay the full amount by Wednesday
Moishe would be put into jail and his family would be made to suffer. Moishe
knew his threat real. Monday afternoon, in an act of desperation, he piled
his family and all his possessions onto his wagon and he began to flee from
home. On the single road leaving his village Moishe met the porrtiz himself.
Looking at Moishe with curiously he asked where he was going. Moshe quickly
and nervously told the porritz that they’re going away for a Jewish holiday.
Looking quizzically at Moishe, the porritz queried, “Which Jewish holiday?”
to which Moishe answered, “Zeman Pleitaseinu” (Literally: The Time of Our
escape). Moishe edged by and the porritz continued on his way into town.
When he arrived in town he was surprised to find everyone going about their
weekday business. The porritz asked one fellow, “Why aren’t you getting
ready for the Jewish holiday?” The man answered that he did not know of any
Jewish holiday at this time of the year which touched off his suspicion. The
porritz told him that Moishe was celebrating something called, “Zeman
Pleitaseinu”. “Ahhhhhhh”, sighed the Jewish peasant, “that holiday is
different than other Jewish holidays. Other Jewish holidays we all celebrate
together but Zeman Pleitaseinu is different. Everyone celebrates it at a
different time. This time it’s Moishe’s turn. Next it may be mine! Everyone
has their own special time to celebrate, “Zeman Pleitaseinu!”
Yakov dodged a bullet when he skirted by Eisav. His strategy worked just
long enough to escape, as it would for many generations, charming with a
spell of brotherliness.
DvarTorah, Copyright © 2007 by Rabbi Label Lam and Torah.org.