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The Elements of Jewish Living

My Brother Esav

By TorahLab

The very act of bowing before Hashem is to invite and make room for G-d in our lives

Yaakov was about to encounter his enemy. He was also about to encounter his brother.

His enemy had vowed to kill him. His brother was his twin who nursed with him from their holy mother Rivka. His brother was his enemy and his enemy was his brother.

Yaakov needed to develop a strategy for the fateful summit that would involve such momentous consequences that would last until the end of time.

What did Yaakov do? The Torah reports: Jacob looked up and saw Esav approaching with 400 men. He divided the children among Leah and Rachel and the two handmaids. Jacob went ahead of them and he prostrated himself seven times as he approached him, until his brother.

His strategy was to prostrate himself seven times.

As Jews we may only bow to G-d. G-d put our head on top of our bodies and that is where it belongs at all times. Only when we stand before G-d do we take our head, that part of our body that defines our essence, and we lower it before Him. We humble ourselves before the Almighty. We recognize that G-d is in control and whatever happens is ultimately His will.

As we lower our heads before G-d we realize that we must find G-d even when we are down. We realize that our struggle and our suffering has meaning in G-d's higher plan. The Kabbalists teach that the very act of bowing before Hashem is to invite and make room for G-d in our lives. To the extent that we make room for Him, G-d intervenes, takes over and saves the situation.

Yaakov realized that the best strategy for encountering Esav is to Encounter Hashem.

The verse reads: until (Jacob) he reached him, until his brother. (ad achiv) Yaakov's strategy was to humble himself before G-d until his enemy Esav became his brother! He prostrated himself until his enemy became his brother!

The Torah immediately reports: Esav ran to meet him. He hugged Jacob and he threw himself on his shoulders. He kissed him and they both wept.

Mission accomplished. In his enemy Yaakov found his brother.

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