Sedra VaYishLach, 120 Words. Stolen Blessings, Dignity

YaAkov Avinu, engages in battle with a stranger. [32:25]

Although YaAkov is injured, he grasps his opponent who begs to be released.

YaAkov makes a deal, extracting a blessing in exchange.

But it is a most unusual blessing: he will no longer be called YaAkov but Yisrael. Why? “because you battled with great people and ordinary folk and you were victorious.”

Rashi [32:29] explains, No longer will you say that you received the blessings from your father Yitzzchak, via deception, but openly and with dignity.

 

This not a blessing – it is ridiculous. What occurred in the past cannot be undone, and certainly not with utterance of words.

However, the introduction to the blessing is revealing. YaAkov is asked, “What is your name?” meaning what are you? how do you describe and define yourself. YaAkov means “hanging onto the heels of my bigger brother.” And that is how YaAkov sees himself.

He receives a wonderful blessing: “your victory over me in this skirmish will allow you to see yourself in a new light.”

Rashi [32:29] does not say, “others will no longer say the blessings were taken by deception”. The problem and the remedy is in the way YaAkov sees himself.

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