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A Sending of Angels and a Meeting on the Mountain

Back in last week’s Parshah, Yaakov met up with a whole bunch of angels. Two groups, to be precise – those from the land of Israel, and those from outside the holy land. In a talk given on Parshas Vayeitzei thirty years ago, the Lubavitcher Rebbe explains that since the Torah is a manual, rather than a history book, and “action is the key,” there is obviously something to be learned from these two sets of angels. Each camp of angels represents a different way of refining oneself – the ones from outside the land represent the concept of refining the body and the ones from the holy land represent the idea of refining the soul. We have the capacity to change ourselves and our very nature into more sensitively spiritual beings. Okay, that seems to be easy enough to understand – hard work in action, but still conceptually, it all makes sense.

But then we come to the beginning of our current parshah, Vayishlach. And we find: “Yaakov sent angels ahead to Esav, his brother, to the land of Se’ir, the field of Edom.” If the angels represent this concept of spiritual refinement, why did Yaakov send them to Esav of all people?!

Yaakov did this spiritual work of refining his own nature and his environs, and then he wanted to help his brother Esav, by lifting him up as well. So, he sent angels ahead to Esav. But the angels returned because the time when Esav and all that he represents would be transformed for the good had not yet arrived. Yaakov then promises Esav that he’ll meet up with him at Mt. Se’ir, but we find that that never happens and Rashi reassures us that this was a prophetic statement, talking about the times after Moshiach’s arrival and the redemption, when the two brothers will finally be reunited. And what does that mean for us? That means that we can still work on what Yaakov was trying to accomplish all those years back. We can work on lands we’ve been exiled to during this Golus Edom, transforming and uplifting the places we find ourselves in, until we finally get the job done, and Yaakov can meet Esav at Har Se’ir.

(Source: Sicha on Shabbos Parshas Vayeitzi 5751.)

Pens used: Staedtler calligraphy pens with medium and extra-fine nibs, Pentel brush pen.

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