These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

Parshat Vayishlach

Posted on November 27, 2015 by Daniella Adler

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וַיָּבֹא֩ יַֽעֲקֹ֨ב שָׁלֵ֜ם” “Yaakov arrived, whole…” (Genesis 33:18)

In this week’s parsha, Parshat Vayishlach, we finally encounter our forefather, Yaakov, settling down, laying roots in the Land of Canaan. He finally arrives whole, complete and at peace. Yaakov arrives “שָׁלֵ֜םafter countless trials and tribulations, after many personal battles of fear and uncertainty throughout his life. Yaakov is finally able to return to the land of his father Yitzchak and his grandfather Avraham and reclaim the inheritance that was promised to him by God. It is at this moment of arriving “שָׁלֵ֜םthat Yaakov builds an altar to God and names it “אֵ֖ל אֱלֹהֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל, “God is the God of Israel.” Rashi comments on this passage, stating,

“and he named it, God is the God of Israel.: Not that the altar is called the God of Israel,but since the Holy One, blessed be He, had been with him and saved him, he named the altar because of the miracle. That is to say: He Who is God that is the Holy One, blessed be He-He is God to me, whose name is Israel.”

Yaakov, in all of his wholeness can finally mark his peaceful and safe arrival at this moment by recognizing that God had been with him and allowed him to reach this moment in his life.

Today, Am Yisrael is facing many hardships, many struggles and battles with fear and uncertainty. Like Yaakov and his belief in God we too have the power to arrive שָׁלֵ֜ם out of these trying times. With our continued faith we can emerge whole, complete and at peace and recognize the many miracles of God that surround us.

Shabbat Shalom!