VAYISHLACH (GEN 32:4- 36:43)
So in this Parshah Jacob becomes Israel (in two different sections, which I didn’t remember at all from before), but then, unlike with Abraham or Sarah and their name changes, he isn’t referred to as Israel, he is often still referred to as Jacob… I don’t know why. Also- throughout the passage, during the ‘rape’ (there isn’t a Hebrew word for that) of Dinah, they say, this isn’t done in Israel, so clearly this term is already being used for the land? The people? I don’t know.
The most powerful part of this Torah portion for me was the reunion of Esau and Jacob. After 20 years, Jacob, having stolen his older brother’s rights and gifts, is scared for his life. But they have both changed and grown. And they embrace and hug. But then they move on, and go on SEPARATELY. Because sometimes that is really how it goes. And we only see them come together again for Isaac’s funeral. From a Keshet commentary (2006 Marisa James);
“Finding peace and forgiveness within my own family came only when I acknowledged the difficult truth that they will never fully understand my experience of the world, as I will never fully understand theirs. And while no one person can ever fully understand another, it’s rare that a queer child in a straight family will have the ability to make that straight family see the world through queer eyes. After all, reunions do not always create new closeness.
And the wisdom we gain from Jacob and Esau is not only through their reuniting, but also through their parting. Their reunion is fleeting; there will be no further contact between them. Jacob and Esau teach us the painful but necessary lesson of what to do when a close relationship cannot be recreated or restored. They reconcile, they embrace, and they part ways in peace.”