Have you ever wrestled with your desire to do something that deep down you know you shouldn’t? “Conversion” sometimes get so spiritualized that what’s actually happening to you gets lost. The important transformation to the “new creation” is the theme of the Torah section וישלח Vayishlach (“he sent,” Gen. 32:3–36:43).
The traditional complementary Prophets and Writings reading (haftarah) for Vayishlach is Obadiah 1:1–21.
Companion readings from the B’rit Chadashah (New Testament) from MessianicJudaism.net (also has through-the-Bible readings):
- 1Corinthians 5:1–13; Revelation 7:1-12 (Complete Jewish Bible by David H. Stern)
Hebrews 11:11–20 (Parashiot From the Torah and Haftarah by Jeffrey E. Feinbe of Flame Foundation)
The following are notes and recordings of studies by Hallel Fellowship teachers on passages from Vayishlach.
Ya’akov had a conversion experience the night he wrestled with a Heavenly visitor. Not only did he receive a new name, but also he received a new “vision” for what his future would hold.
Humility and loyalty are underlying teachings of Genesis 33–34. The phrase “women and children first” is held up as selfless chivalry, but it seems Ya’akov wasn’t so chivalric in his sending his wives and children ahead of him toward what he thought would be his heavily armed and bloodthirsty brother, Esau. Then there’s the disaster that followed the defilement of Ya’akov‘s daughter, Dinah, whose forcible conquering at the hands of a city’s “first son” led to the deaths of all the men and the enslavement of the women and children of that city by the hands of two of Ya’akov‘s sons.
We boast in our pride, we constantly demand our rights, we put our trust in our government to protect these rights, but we don’t ask God to protect us. Ya’akov needed to return to Beit ’El to fulfill the vow he had made to the LORD when he was fleeing from Esau. God protected Ya’akov and his entourage from being pursued by those who would have wanted to take revenge on Ya’akov‘s family for what happened in Shechem (Genesis 34). He put a great terror on those who wanted to pursue them and convinced them to leave them alone.
We sometimes gloss over long lists in the Bible of hard-to-pronounce names and places. Yet the meanings of names in God’s word are part of the lessons He wants us to learn. The names in this chapter point to reasons why “Eysau” and “Edom” are mentioned continually in the prophets as an adversary to Israel.
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