And now to the parasha:
There are several stories in this week's parasha. Yaakov is told by God to return to Canaan. Knowing his brother is there, and more than a little nervous about meeting him after all these years, he devises a plan to send messengers ahead. The rest of the summary is here at My Jewish Learning, with some questions you can think about . As we have seen each week, there are some aspects of this story that are troubling to the 21st century reader.
[By the way, I recently read in a sixth grade textbook that all this took place in "Palestine", with no mention of the land of Canaan. Strange, since the country was not named "Palestine" until the Roman conquest. One wonders who is writing (or editing) social studies textbooks.]
G-dcast.com is a site that offers a short (usually about 4 minutes long) cartoon video about each parasha of the Torah.
In its video of Vayishlach the creator of this week's commentary suggests that the "man" with whom Yaakov wrestled was neither an angel nor himself. Watch the episode by clicking on the link and consider whether or not you agree with the conclusion.
The rape of Yaakov's daughter Dinah is another of the incidents described in detail in this parasha. Many of you have read The Red Tent, by Anita Diamant. This novel based on the incident described here has been widely discussed, particularly in women's groups - the audience to whom the book seems to be addressed.
- Do you think it is appropriate to rewrite stories from the Torah today?
- Why might one want to do this?
- Why do women today often react negatively to stories in the Torah?
- In what way might this story sound different to girls [and women] than to boys [and men]? How might your teaching acknowledge this?