Kenneth Cohen

Parallels from the Parsha

It is truly amazing how we are able to find parallels from our weekly Torah portion, to current events. This is certainly true of Parshat Vayishlach.

We find three major events that have relevance to today. Yakov’s wrestling with the angel, was a clear struggle between good and evil. This angel was the ministering angel of Eisav. He was a combination of Satan, the Angel of Death, and the Yeitzer Hara. Like Israel today, it was a battle of good against pure evil.

The killing of all of the males of Shechem, was revenge for the raping of an innocent Jewish girl, Dina. The wording of the Torah is that Shimon and Levi attacked the city, בטח, with absolute certainty, that what they were doing was right. Like today, they were unwilling to accept that a daughter of Israel be violated, in such a way.

The third connection to current events, is how Yakov had to maneuver his negotiations, with his evil brother, Eisav. He had a real dilemma, as he needed to protect his wife and children, from his evil brother. Like today, his strategy in dealing with his brother was questioned by many of our sages. Many felt that he went too far in allowing himself to be humiliated by a very bad person.

In the end, Hashem helped Yakov succeed against the angel. The revenge taken by Shimon and Levi, put fear in the hearts of all of the inhabitants.

And somehow Yakov succeeded in parting from Eisav as friends. He was able to maintain the safety of his family, as well as his wealth, and his deep connection with G-d.
We certainly pray that we will see the same results, as we attempt to eradicate our enemies, and destroy evil. With Hashem’s help, we will succeed.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at