The parsha for the week covers Bresheis 32:4 to 36:43. (Genesis) I was asked to write and post a Dvar Torah - if I put it in the wrong place I apologize, I'm not actually all that good with anything other than Post? OKAY! I just wanted people to have a chance to be er... Mortifyd before Shabbos started.
This is a Mortifyd dvar Torah. That means it's pretty direct, modern language with commentary by yours truly thrown in along with some traditional points of view. Please keep that in mind.
The first aliyah: 32:4-13
So Jacob and his twin Esau are getting on in years, and Jacob is getting tired of just screwing over Laban for animals and women and decides to check up on his twin. He sent some messengers to Esau in Edom saying that he had been hanging out with Laban all this time and they should get together and talk about the good old days - oh, and here's some livestock and slaves because you know I kind of stole everything away from you and I'm a dick.
The messengers come back and they tell him that Esau does not feel some prezzies made up for any of it - oh and BTW army of 400 pissed off guys with him. Jacob immediately goes into crisis mode and splits his camp in two, figuring his brother and his army will only get one or the other. Then he prayed to G-d to remind G-d how humble he is and how much more He likes Jacob, and how He promised to get him home whole, and good stuff and descendents like sand of the sea.
Because Jacob is a dick.
The second aliyah: 32:14 - 30
The next day Jacob instructs his servants to take a buttload more livestock of varying kinds to Esau one after another with deepest regards from his humble servant Jacob, who follows behind - which of course still makes him sound like a dick. While the poo parade was being trotted over to Esau's camp, Jacob got his own immediate family and belongings safely away across the Jebbok, just in case the suck up didn't work so well. Then he stayed overnight.
Now this is where the famous story of Jacob wrestling the "angel" (it actually says MAN) is found and how the man was losing and - depending on how you learn it - 1. grabbed his sciatic nerve, 2. dislocated his hip, 3. grabbed his junk - to get free before dawn. Jacob, being his usual greedy self demanded a blessing first. The man asked his name and then changed it to Israel - you struggle with G-d and men and prevail. Jacob asked the man his name and the man asked why - then blessed Jacob anyway and left.
Traditionally this "man" is an angel - basically Esau's "guardian angel" for lack of a better term. Some have interpreted it as Jacob's conscience because he's pretty much been a dick most of his life and gotten away with it - particularly when it came to Esau.
Dara Horn actually points out that it says man - and Jacob saw a buttload of angels just some parshas ago and no one was pretending they were anything but angels. So who is this man? Could it be Esau himself? I like the idea of the brothers themselves wrestling in the dark for supremacy, just as they started. That's why he wants to leave - before Jacob can see him in the light and know for sure who it was. And that is why he refuses to give his name - because on some level, Jacob does know. I like this one a lot.
The third aliyah: 32:31 - 33:5
Jacob names the place Peniel - because he had "seen the face of G-d and lived" - ego much there, Jacob? At sunrise he limped because of his injury - and this is why we don't eat the sciatic nerve or even cow butts anymore because it has to be taken out a special way that the sephardim know perfectly well how to do but the ashkenazim would rather be sure and just skip the cow butt.
ANYWAY. Jacob had to have crossed the Jobbok himself because he saw the 400 pissed off dudes and lined his family up - slave women and their kids in front, the Leah and her kids, and Rachel and Joseph in the back of the pack. He's still a dick. Then he went before them all and bowed seven times to his brother, who got all choked up and they man hugged and then Esau wanted to know who all the women and kids were.
The fourth aliyah: 33:6 - 20
Jacob tells Esau they are all his and they all bow down because army of 400 scary dudes still standing there - and it's polite. Esau wanted to know what the deal was with all the animals that were pooping all over his camp - Jacob explains he wants his brothers favour. Esau says he has more than enough but Jacob really turns on the charm, comparing seeing Esau again like seeing the face of G-d. (Anyone sensing an echo here from the name of the place where the wrestling took place?) So Esau agrees to take them and suggests they travel together to Seir, where he lives. Jacob suddenly is all concerned about the kiddies and asks Esau to let them travel slower, Esau is not really down. He offers to leave some guards and Jacob declines. Esau takes off for Seir with his 400 guys and Jacob goes to Sukkot for a while and hangs out there, building shelters (sukkot) for his cattle. Then they go to Shechem and he buys some land for 100 pieces of money and Jacob puts up and altar and called that place El elohe Israel.
The fifth aliyah: 34:1 - 35:11
Dina, Jacob's daughter, goes out to hang out with her Hivite girlfriends and the creepy stalker prince named Shechem son of Hamor rapes her in a field. Jacob is really pissed when he finds out and waits until his sons come in from the fields and tells them. They are super pissed too.
Hamor came out to Jacob and wanted to make it all better by offering marriage because his son the filthy rapist loved her so much, and they would all be happy and would trade together and be cool about it. And Jacob and his sons could have whatever they wanted for a bride price. Jacob's sons, being Jacob's sons said their sister could not marry a guy who wasn't snipped - in fact, the whole town had to get snipped or they were leaving.
Shechem practically whipped it out on the spot he was so desperate to marry Dina. And Hamor and Shechem told the whole town all the men had to be snipped for the wedding and then they would be like one people and it would be cool and they have stuff and hot chicks, so it's worth it. So all the men got snipped all on the same day.
On the third day when it really hurts like a bastard, Jacob's sons Simeon and Levi got up and went and killed all the men in town. Then they looted the town and took their wives and children and livestock. Tradition says they were 12 and 13 years old when they did this.
Jacob is super pissed and tells them off for it saying that now everyone will hate us around here. The brothers reply back are they supposed to watch their sister get treated like a prostitute? Jacob doesn't have a snappy comeback to this.
SO G-d told Jacob to move the whole family to move to Bethel and build a new altar there - and seriously, stop the family with the idol worship, it's pissing Me off. And Jacob made everyone purify themselves and give up their idols and earrings and he buried them by Shechem. And everyone was scared of G-d and no one bothered them while they moved. They went through Luz and built and altar and promptly renamed it El bethel.
Rebekah's nurse Devorah died and was buried under an oak called Allon Bacuth. Then G-d comes to Jacob and confirms the name change to Israel and to have more kids because nations and kings would come from him.
The sixth aliyah: 35:12 - 36:19
G-d tells Jacob that he will inherit the land that was given to Abraham and Isaac. Jacob is pretty thrilled and puts up a pillar and pours a drink offering and oil on it and renamed the place Bethel. On the way to Ephrath Rachel dies in childbirth with a son she named Ben Oni, but Jacob calls Benjamin. They bury her at Bethlehem with is on the way to Ephrath and put up another pillar on her grave. Israel/Jacob travels to Migdal eder, and while he is gone his son Reuven gets down with Jacob's concubine Bilhah and word gets back to him.
Then there are a bunch of begats of Jacob born at Padam Aram. Jacob goes to Isaac in Hebron where he is 180 years old (18 in Hebrew spells chai - life, and values of 18 are very important symbolic numbers) and dies, where Esau and Jacob bury him. Then it lists begats of Esau and how he packed up the truck and moved the family to Edom because it was just too much of a pain in his ass to be in Canaan around Jacob. Then it goes into his later descendents and points out Amalek is in there.
The seventh aliyah: 36:20 - 43
This lists the begats of Sier the Horite and the kings of Edom.