Parashat Vaishlach

Esav was waiting for his father’s death to draw near so that he could take revenge and kill his brother Yaakov for a crime he had not committed, and that day had come. Yaakov feared, and no wonder, since Yitzchak blessed his son Esav with “you shall live by the sword” , and now he was approaching with an army of 400 soldiers. What do you think Yaakov did, what did his survival instinct tell him, run for your life, or he will surely kill you, kill yourself before he comes! Neither answer is correct. Rashi explains that Yaakov thoroughly prepared his strategies: Trying to appease Esav with gifts, preparing for war, and pleading with God to save him from his brother’s clutches. But how to try to appease someone coming to kill him? Yaakov knew that his brother was attached to material things, he proved it when Esav sold him his primojenitura in exchange for a simple plate of lentils, and that is why Yaakov sent emissaries to bring him animals as gifts, but he asks them not to give them all at once, but to have a distance between flock and flock, so that Esav would be delighted with the great amount of gifts. This, in a way, is the antithesis of a basic concept in Judaism: ”Who is the Rich? He who is happy with what he has. King Solomon says that he who loves money will not be satisfied with money. The simple explanation is that, if your life is focused only around the love of the material, you will never be satiated and will always want more, because the fuel for the soul is not matter, but wisdom, however as Esav did not believe in the transcendental, Yaakov tried to appease him with gifts. And indeed it worked, for Esav sees the gifts and later, when he meets Yaakov, he embraces and forgives him. At first Esav does not accept the gifts, telling his brother, “I already have plenty, keep yours. Instead, Yaakov replies, “I have everything”. Let us observe the difference between the two: Yaakov: I have everything! Do you see the difference? We can have a lot, but still not be happy with what we have; on the other hand we can have what we need to live, and be happy.Bronnie Ware, an expert in palliative care and the terminally ill, compiled a book that talks about the top five regrets people have before they die. They were confessions that helped her transform her life. Because according to Bronnie Ware, it’s really sad to go to your grave thinking, “I wish I had done that…”. One of those regrets is: “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard, ” because that, they said, had thrown them off balance and as a result they had lost a lot of things in their life. This was one of the differences between Yaakov and Esav, two visions of seeing what really matters in life. Of course working is indispensable to survive day by day, and in fact there is nothing wrong in wanting to earn money to give yourself some treats if possible, the problem is to lose the course of our primary objective: “To direct ourselves towards the transcendental and connect with God” ; that way we will avoid arriving at the end of our lives regretting not having reached it.