Monday, December 12, 2011

Vayishlach – The Meaning of a Present

"...Jacob selected a present for his brother Esau from whatever came into his hand."

There are 310 worlds under the Throne of Glory, just as the numerical value of the word shai (שי) - present. Of these, 103 are the worlds of strictness; their influence ascends in the world after midday – the time of the influence of Isaac, the time of Minchah (offering, מנחה) prayer, whose numerical value is 103 = 40+50+8+5.

In general, all the judgments in the world come from the special five letters of mantzpach (מנצפך), and the first two letters of this group are the “man” (מנ) of minchah (מנחה). Following the “man” is the letter chet that represents the nose, and then the letter hei – the mouth of the Cosmic Man, and from these two come the sweetening of all judgments. At the end of days the mixed judgments of the minchah will change and become nechamah (נחמה) - consolation.

That is the meaning of the phrase “from whatever came into his hand”: Jacob took the strictness of the minchah, but with only one hand, and gave it to Esau, whose character was harsh, saying “Give him his due.” Esau hinted to Jacob that had he wanted to, he could draw strength from all of the 310 worlds, not only from the 103 strict ones, by noticing faults in others. Esau said, “I have (יש לי) a lot” hinting at shai (שי). Jacob pre-empted this, by enumerating his presents to Esau with the eight words that all end with the letter mem, hinting at the 8 unclean creepy crawlies mentioned in the Torah. Jacob also pointed out that there are eight words of holiness, used by the Torah to describe an offering (minchah) that also all end with the letter mem. Additionally, Jacob chose the word minchah to inflict a blemish (mum, מום) in the presents to Esau, so that they would not be fitting as idol sacrifices. And, so that the we would not think that eight worlds of holiness also received a blemish, he preceded to describe them as pure (temimim, תמימים).

Art: Auguste Toulmouche - Consolation

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