Genesis 32:4 – 36:43

Genesis chapter 32, verse 4 to chapter 36, verse 43


Jacob is returning to his home in Canaan. He travels through territory that his brother Esau (whom he tricked) controls. He decides he wants to make peace with Esau and sends him gifts. He still is worried that Esau will want to take revenge, so he sends his household to safety. The night before he is to meet with his brother, Jacob meets a stranger in the wilderness. They begin to wrestle. The fight lasts all night. At dawn, the stranger strains Jacob’s hip, but Jacob still doesn’t release him. Jacob demands to receive a blessing from the stranger who gives him a new name “Israel”, which means “he has struggled against divine beings and prevailed”.

The next morning Jacob and Esau meet and reconcile. Esau wants Jacob to travel with his party, but Jacob declines and settles in the city of Shechem, in Canaan.

One day Dinah, Jacob’s daughter is attacked and raped by a Canaanite who lived in Shechem (and whose name is also Shechem), who ultimately wishes to marry her. Her brothers agree, but demand that the inhabitants of Shechem become circumcised. They agree and 3 days later, Dinah’s brothers raid the town and kill the inhabitants of Shechem. Jacob is very angry with his sons, warning them they the have put their entire family in danger. The sons respond that they were defending their sister’s honor. God tells Jacob to move to the town of Bethel. On the way, Jacob’s wife Rachel, who is pregnant, goes into labor. She gives birth to a son, Benjamin, but dies in childbirth.

Jacob’s father, Isaac dies at the age of 180. Jacob and Esau come together to bury their father.

Torah Portion in English

4) Jacob sent messengers ahead to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom, 5) and instructed them as follows, ”Thus shall you say, ‘To my lord Esau, thus says your servant Jacob: I stayed with Laban and remained until now; 6) I have acquired cattle, asses, sheep, and male and female slaves; and I send this message to my lord in the hope of gaining your favor.’” 7) The messengers returned to Jacob, saying, “We came to your brother Esau; he himself is coming to meet you, and there are four hundred men with him.” 8) Jacob was greatly frightened; in his anxiety, he divided the people with him, and the flocks and herds and camels, into two camps, 9) thinking, “If Esau comes to the one camp and attacks it, the other camp may yet escape.”

Getting to Know my Parasha

What Does my Parasha Say?

  1. What types of changes has Jacob gone through by the beginning of this portion?
  2. Why did Jacob send his family into safety before meeting Esau?
  3. What happened with the stranger that Jacob met?
  4. What does Jacob’s new name mean?
  5. How did Jacob and Esau react to one another when they finally met?
  6. How did Dinah’s brother’s react to what happened to her?
  7. What happened to Rachel as she gave birth?
  8. What was the name of her son?