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Beit Midrash Torah Portion and Tanach Vayishlach

Parashat Vayishlach

Yaakov's Fear

Rabbi Eliezer LangerCheshvan, 5763
3211
Dedicated to the speedy recovery of
Asher Ishaayahu Ben Rivka
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Thirty-five years have passed since Yaakov pledged to return to Eretz Yisrael. Now after years of pining to return to the Holy Land, he and his family are about to make the long anticipated entry. But all of a sudden, Yaakov realizes that in order to enter Eretz Yisrael, he has to handle the threat of his brother Esav to destroy Yaakov and reclaim the birthright.
Why was Yaacov not secure with Hashem's promise that He would guard him and return him to this land?

Among the explanations given for Yaakov's concern is that Esav had one merit that Yaakov did not - the merit of living in the Land of Israel. This caused Yaakov to doubt that he could survive a confrontation with his brother.

The Gaon of Vilna infers from the Gemara (Sotah 21) that only a mitzvah could afford Esav protection. Consequently, for Esav, to live in the Land must have been a mitzvah. In other words, when Hashem commanded "lech lecha" this was a commandment that Avraham and all his decendents to leave their land, their birthplace and their parents' home to go to the land chosen by Hashem Himself, the Land of Israel. Since Yaakov was in the process of accomplishing this very same Mitzvah, "Vayetzer lo" must mean that Yaakov was troubled that he had had doubts, that he had been insecure about being protected. For after all, he did have Hashem’s promise; he did have a mitzvah to make aliya, and we might add, he was coming home.

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