Last week we discussed different possibilities raised in midrashim and commentaries about who Yaakov’s “brothers,” who took part in the tense interactions between Yaakov and Lavan, were. This week we will humbly raise another possibility, which also connects those events to the events of Parashat Vayishlach.
The Torah tells us in our Parasha that Yaakov, upon returning to Eretz Yisrael, lived in Kiryat Arba/Chevron, and described it as the place where Avraham and Yitzchak lived before him (Bereishit 35:27). The first formal acquisition of land by our forefathers was there some 4,000 years ago. In contrast, Yerushalayim is a Jewish city for only 3,000 years.
Hebrew is a special language, as the Ramban (Shemot 30:13) explains so beautifully. We call it Lashon Hakodesh because the words of Torah and of prophecy were given in this beloved language, including invoking His holy names. In fact, Hashem used Lashon Hakodesh to create the world and name everything in it, including giving the names of the righteous people. Today we will look at the deep way in which the root “yatzov” is used.
After leaving Lavan’s house, Yaakov and family passed through Gilad, Sukkot and, on the other side of the Jordan, camped near Shechem. 600 years later, David led his troops, as described in Tehillim 60, in the opposite direction, from Shechem in the west, through Sukkot and Gilad to the east (ibid. 9). This mizmor is introduced with the heading as relating to the very successful battle against Aram, which is also discussed in Shmuel II,10.