Parsha Q&A

For the week ending 23 November 2002 / 18 Kislev 5763

Parshat Vayishlach

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  1. What sort of messengers did Yaakov send to Esav?
  2. Why was Yaakov both "afraid" and "distressed?"
  3. In what three ways did Yaakov prepare for his encounter with Esav?
  4. Where did Dina hide and why?
  5. After helping his family across the river, Yaakov remained alone on the other side. Why?
  6. What was the angel forced to do before Yaakov agreed to release him?
  7. What was it that healed Yaakovs leg?
  8. Why did Esav embrace Yaakov?
  9. Why did Yosef stand between Esav and Rachel?
  10. Give an exact translation of the word nisa in verse 33:12.
  11. What happened to the 400 men who accompanied Esav?
  12. Why does the Torah refer to Dina as the daughter of Leah and not as the daughter of Yaakov?
  13. Whom should Shimon and Levi have consulted concerning their plan to kill the people of Shechem?
  14. Who was born along with Binyamin?
  15. What does the name Binyamin mean? Why did Yaakov call him that?
  16. The Torah states "The sons of Yaakov were twelve." Why?
  17. How old was Yaakov when Yosef was sold?
  18. Esav changed his wife's name to Yehudit. Why?
  19. Which three categories of people have their sins pardoned?
  20. What is the connection between the Egyptian oppression of the Jewish people and Esavs decision to leave the land of Canaan?


All references are to the verses and Rashis commentary, unless otherwise stated.

  1. 32:4 - Angels.
  2. 32:8 - He was afraid he would be killed. He was distressed that he would have to kill.
  3. 32:9 - He sent gifts, he prayed, and he prepared for war.
  4. 32:23 - Yaakov hid her in a chest so that Esav wouldn't see her and want to marry her.
  5. 32:25 - He went back to get some small containers he had forgotten.
  6. 32:27 - Admit that the blessings given by Yitzchak rightfully belong to Yaakov.
  7. 32:32 - The shining of the sun.
  8. 33:4 - His pity was aroused when he saw Yaakov bowing to him so many times.
  9. 33:7 - To stop Esav from gazing at her.
  10. 33:12 - It means "travel". It does not mean "we will travel." This is because the letter nun is part of the word and does not mean we as it sometimes does.
  11. 33:16 - They slipped away one by one.
  12. 34:1 - Because she was outgoing like her mother, Leah.
  13. 34:25 - Their father, Yaakov.
  14. 35:17 - His two triplet sisters.
  15. 35:18 - Ben-Yemin means "Son of the South." He was the only son born in the Land of Israel, which is south of Aram Naharaim.
  16. 35:22 - To stress that all of them, including Reuven, were righteous.
  17. 35:29 - One hundred and eight.
  18. 36:2 - To fool Yitzchak into thinking that she had abandoned idolatry.
  19. 36:3 - One who converts to Judaism, one who is elevated to a position of leadership, and one who marries.
  20. 36:6 - Esav knew that the privilege of living in the Land of Israel was accompanied by the prophecy that the Jews would be "foreigners in a land not their own." Therefore Esav said, "Im leaving I dont want the Land if it means I have to pay the bill of subjugation in Egypt."

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