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    Save me from my brother’s hand – Vayyishlach

    Jacob & Esau, by James Tissot c.1896

    Jacob & Esau, by James Tissot c.1896

    Jacob’s struggles with his brother Esau went on for decades. He had to appeal to God, “Save me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau” (Gen. 32:12).

    Esau was his brother… but he was also Esau. There was something so unbrotherly about him that it is no wonder that Jacob was afraid. Of course brothers can be united even when they disagree, but with some brothers it simply doesn’t happen.

    This was often the Jewish experience. In lands where Jews and other groups lived like brothers, with all their differences, both sides benefited. When Jews were denigrated, threatened, attacked, exiled and annihilated, it was not only the Jews who suffered. Both sides did.

    Look at so many European countries which turned against their Jews and cut off their proverbial nose to spite their face. Their antisemitic excesses diminished them.

    Today a number of countries are prepared to say, “We should have appreciated our Jews”, but they don’t always make it easy for Jews to return and re-establish themselves.

    So often in the past the Jews said, “Save me from Esau!”

    So often at the present time they still say the same words.

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