Preparing for Battle on Three Fronts by Zev Prince

1995/5756

 

In this week's Parsha, as Yaakov is about to approach Eisav after 22 years in exile, he prepares himself in several ways, as noted by Rashi (לבראשית ל"ב:ט' בד"ה והיה). He prepared himself with a "דורון," a present, in order to look favorable in the eyes of Eisav, with a "תפילה," a prayer in the name of his grandfather Avraham, and with preparations for a "מלחמה," a battle against the evil forces of Eisav.

Rabbi Yehudah Leib of Gur, the Gerrer Rebbe, presents an additional comment on these three things that Rashi identifies concerning the preparations which Yaakov made prior to meeting Eisav. He notes that all three things are hinted at in the first Parsha of Shema, when every Jew prepares himself to serve Hashem. The Posuk states "ואהבת את ה' אלקיך בכל לבבך ובכל נפשך ובכל מאדך", "and you shall love Hashem your G-d with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your resources" (דברים ו':ה'). The phrase "with all your heart" corresponds to the service of the heart, which is therefore connected to Yaakov's Tefillah. The phrase "with all your soul" corresponds to the fight of every man against his Yeitzer Hora, which is therefore connected to Yaakov's preparation for war. The phrase "with all your resources" corresponds to the need to use one's funds properly (such as for Tzedakah and good deeds), which is thus connected to the present which Yaakov sent.

It may be suggested, as Rabbeinu Bechaya writes, that Yaakov prepared himself not so much for a physical battle with Eisav, but rather for a spiritual battle. He thus prepared himself in those three ways as they are intended by the above cited Posuk in Kerias Shema (שם). Yaakov was successful because he was prepared in those three ways; we may thus see from here that the survival of the Jewish people is and has always been dependent on our moral and spiritual superiority over the nations that seek and have sought to destroy us.

 

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