The Torah reading ויצא Vayetze (“and he went out,” Genesis 28:10–32:2) is another example of how all the Scriptures testify of the Mashiakh (Messiah). The account of Ya’akob’s (Jacob) using striped sticks to encourage breeding among livestock and separating livestock sounds like archaic superstition, but it actually is a Messianic prophecy about how Yeshua (Jesus) would draw to Himself the “lost sheep of Israel” (Matt. 10:6; 15:24) and make them stronger than what appeared to be the preferred flock.
“Now Ya’akov lived in the land where his father had sojourned, in the land of Canaan. These are the records of the generations of Ya’akov.” (Genesis 37:1–2 NASB)
The previous parashah, Vayishlach, ends with Esaw dwelling in Seir, which is in southwest Jordan today. This Torah section, וישב Vayeshev (“and he dwelled”), begins with Ya’akov living in Canaan.
This ties Ya’akov, rather than Eysau, to the legacy of Abraham and Yitzhak. Legacy is more than generating children. This is something special, unique that is passed down from one generation to another. In our age, we don’t seem to be interested in legacy, but we should be. We are quick to blame our parents for their mistakes but we aren’t as quick to thank them for the good they have taught us.
When we examine ourselves and purge evil from our hearts, it costs us something. But we receive the forever blessing as a result.
There are two hidden stories we will discover in the Torah section וישלח Vayishlach (“and he sent,” Genesis 32:4–36:43). The accounts of Ya’akov‘s wrestling the Heavenly visitor then facing Eysau fit with the judgment on the rapist in Shechem to teach how God’s Mashiakh purges our pasts, so we can overcome.
There is quite a bit of salacious material here, but today we will be focusing on Genesis 32–33. One thing I wanted to make note of is that there are lots of daughters listed in Eysau’s line. This might be because we will see later that the descendants of Ishmael and Eysau intermarried a lot.
“He had a dream, and behold, a ladder was set on the earth with its top reaching to heaven; and behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.” (Genesis 28:12 NASB)
Ya’akov returns to Bethel, called Luz at this time. Jewish tradition says this is the same place as Mt. Moriah but the Torah does not say that. Yerushalayim, where Mt. Moriah is located, was never called Luz. There is only one Bethel in the Promised Land.
Where we came from and who our parents are doesn’t necessarily define who we are or who we will become. We need to recognize the good around us and become wise to the frequent folly of “following your heart.” This is what we can learn from the life of Esau, the brother of Ya’akov and son of Yitzkhak, detailed in the Torah section תּוֹלְדֹת Toldot or Toledot, covering Gen. 25:19-28:9.
After the death of Yisra’el, fka Ya’akob (Jacob), 10 of his dozen sons approached Yosef (Joseph) with a message from their father: Don’t seek revenge for selling him as a slave. Yosef lived out the “second greatest commandment” in his response, showing he trusted God’s plan that had violently separated him from his family and landed him in prison for a few years.