Our condolences to the family of Gabi Yitshaki following his tragic and untimely passing.

Times: Shabbat starts on Friday at 7:56 pm and ends on Saturday night at 9:00 pm. The weekly Torah portion is Vayishlach.

Mincha in the CBD: We will seek to resume mincha at L2/430 Lt Collins on summer schedule (1.45pm) once there is demand. Join the the WhatsApp group to stay across the latest details.

Study: The Weekly Shiur continues in hybrid in-person and Zoom, on Wednesday at 1.20pm at Warlows Legal, 2/430 Lt Collins, and the lunch part is back! Current topic: stories of great scholars. Details here.

Thought of the Week with thanks to David Prins. In this week’s Torah reading, we read: “Yaakov was left alone and a man (ish) wrestled with him until the break of dawn”. The Torah does not say “Yaakov was left alone and a man came and wrestled with him”, which would make it clear that two people were involved in the wrestling. Rather, the verse says that Yaakov was alone when the ish wrestled with him. There is only one possible explanation – Yaakov wrestled with himself.

Rashi, and other commentators, describe the ish with whom Yaakov wrestled as “saro shel Esav” – the power of Esav, and this indeed is what lies at the core of Yaakov’s struggle.

Before leaving home, Yaakov had dressed up as Esav, and obtained a blessing of riches that seemingly his father had intended to give to Esav. Yaakov now has to struggle to understand who he is. He struggles with his own material success. His spiritual essence vies with his physical being. Am I still Yaakov, the tent dweller, or am I now Esav the hunter?

Yaakov emerges from the struggle with a new understanding of how he differs from Esav, and what his role in life really is. He emerges with a new identity. No longer does he have to be known only as Yaakov – a name that is tied to his relationship to Esav (holding on to his heel). Now he is elevated and independent. He is Yisrael – for he has struggled with spirituality and materiality, and prevailed.

Yaakov now limps, and by not eating the gid ha-nasheh “to this day”, we continue to limp. We walk an insecure path, because it is a constant challenge to keep to a committed Jewish life of spiritual growth, while living and working and maintaining business relationships in the materialistic physical world of Esav.

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