Blog Single Post

Daily Aliya for Vayishlach, Sheni (2nd Aliya)

Aliya Summary: In an attempt to pacify Esav, Jacob sent him a lavish gift, consisting of hundreds of heads of cattle and sheep. He sent this gift in increments, one herd at a time. That night Jacob crossed the Jabok River with his family, and after all had crossed but him, he encountered an angel – Esav’s archangel – who wrestled with him until dawn. Though the angel was unable to prevail over Jacob, he dislodged Jacob’s sciatic nerve, causing him to limp. When the angel wished to leave, Jacob refused to let him go until he blessed Jacob. The angel blessed Jacob and informed him that his name would be changed to Israel.

Commentaries tell us that Yakov had returned across the Yabok River to retrieve some small flasks of oil that had been inadvertently left behind. Some say that this was the oil with which he anointed the altar and monument he built in G-d’s honor, and that this flask of oil was the antecedent of thesole flask of oil found by the Chashmonaim many centuries later. It turns out that Yakov crossing a river to get small flasks of oil seems trivial, but either because of the concept of not wasting anything that G-d gives you, or because of some deeper symbolism for the future, Yakov’s actions were a lesson to us: There is no “small” mitzvah/deed.