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Parashah 08 VaYishlach

Genesis 32:3(4) – 36:43

By Dr. K. Blad  ©

Second edition 2013-14

Lucrative copying not permitted. 

Torah Readings:

  1. 32:3 (4 Heb.) – 32:12 (13 Heb.)
  2. 32:13 (14) – 29 (30)
  3. 32:30 (31) – 33:5
  4. 33:6-20
  5. 34:1 – 35:11 (Ash.) 13 (Sef.)
  6. 35:12 (A), 14 (S) – 36:19
  7. 36:20-43
  8. Maftir: 36:40-43

Haftarah: Hosea 11:7 – 12:12 (Ashken.) Obadiah 1-21 (Sephard.)


Means “and he sent”.


The First Aliyah, 32:3 – 32:12

32:3 “Ya’akov sent messengers in front of him to Esav, his brother, to the land of Se`ir, the field of Edom.”(HNV) – The Hebrew word for “messengers” is malachim[1], which is normally translated as “angels”. Rashi says that in this case they were angels. However, since man does not have the power to send forth angels, this cannot be possible. There is nothing in the Scriptures that proves that man has command over God’s angels.

There are many cases where the word malachim refers to people and not to the angels of the Eternal, see Numbers 20:14; Joshua 6:17; Judges 6:35; 1 Samuel 6:21. The Hebrew word that has been translated into Greek as angelos[2] has the same meaning, see Luke 7:24; James 2:25; Revelation 2:1, etc.

32:7 “Then Ya`akov was greatly afraid and was distressed: and he divided the people who were with him, and the flocks, and the herds, and the camels, into two companies.”(HNV) – This is the first time that the people of Israel are divided into two groups. The division of Israel into two camps has recurred since that time. During the time of King David, there was a division between the house of Yehudah and the house of Israel. David reigned for seven years over the house of Yehudah only and for 33 years over all of Israel, see 2 Samuel 2:4, 11; 5:5. When King Shelomoh died, the kingdom was divided into two nations and the house of Israel was separated from the house of Yehudah as it is to this day, see 1 Kings 12:19; 2 Chronicles 10:19. If we fail to realize that Israel is made up of two camps, we cannot understand the council of the Eternal as it has been revealed in the Scriptures. The two foundational pillars made up of these two camps are Yehudah on one side and Efrayim on the other side.

32:9-12 “Ya`akov said, ‘God of my father Avraham, and God of my father Yitzchak, HaShem, you who said to me, “Return to your country, and to your relatives, and I will do you good.” I am not worthy of the least of all the loving kindnesses, and of all the truth, which you have shown to your servant; for with just my staff I passed over this Yarden; and now I have become two companies. Please deliver me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esav: for I fear him, lest he come and strike me, and the mothers with the children. You said, "I will surely do you good, and make your seed as the sand of the sea, which can't be numbered because there are so many."’”(HNV revised) – Ya’akov’s prayer is based on three main things:

1.      Trust in the promises –“you who said to me”.

2.      Humility – “I am not worthy”.

3.      Honesty – “I fear him”.

The moment of truth had come. Esav had the power to kill him. The reason Ya’akov had returned to the Promised Land was that he had received orders from heaven. Ya’akov did not trust in his own strength or in his own merit, but only in the mercy of the Eternal and His promises over his life. Neither did he try to hide his fear. With complete honesty he disclosed what was inside him, without pretense, without giving any appearance of being different than he really was. There is a teaching in the world, which says that in order to have success and victory in every situation you only need to keep confessing the Word and to never speak about the negative. On the one hand it is true that it is very important to confess the Word, but it is also important to bring out the truth about negative things and be honest with the Eternal so that the negative can be dealt with properly. HaShem appreciates our honesty more than our insincere faith, as it is written in 1 Timothy 1:5-6,

“But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. For some, swerving from these things, have turned aside to meaningless discussion.”(MRC)

And in 2 Timothy 1:5, it is written,

“taking remembrance of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunike, and I am persuaded that it is in you also.”(RMC)

To pretend before the Eternal is of no use. If we are afraid, it is better to not try to hide it, but to be honest before Him and tell Him everything. There is freedom in the light. There is victory in the truth. In times of crisis we cannot use religious phrases in order to have the appearance of something that is not really true. Let us be honest and ask the Eternal to help us in our weakness, as it is written in Romans 8:26,

“And in like manner, the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as it is necessary, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings inexpressible.”(MRC)

In 2 Corinthians 12:10, it is written,

“Because of this, I am pleased in weaknesses, in damages, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, on behalf of Messiah; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”(MRC)

In Matthew 6:30, it is written,

“If God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, you who have little faith?”(MRC)

It does not say here that God will clothe those who have much faith, but those who have little faith. It is better to have little faith in a great God, than to have great faith in a small God. The strength is found in our weakness because that is where we develop a dependent relationship of trust in the Almighty who is with us.

HaShem placed Ya’akov in a crisis. Behind him was Lavan and ahead of him was a promise along with a life threatening danger, his brother Esav. He had no choice but to unite himself with the One who could help him and rescue him from this trial, as it is written in 1 Corinthians 10:13,

“No temptation has taken you except what is human; and God is faithful, Who will not allow you to be tempted above what you have the power to have done to you, but with the temptation will make an exit also, that you may have the power to bear it.”(MRC)

“Return to your country, and to your relatives, and I will do you good.” – This message stands in contrast to the message that our father Avraham received in 12:1a, where it is written,

“Get out of your country, and from your relatives…”(HNV)

Now that the time has come for the return from the exile, the Eternal gives both of these messages to many of those who are Ya’akov’s descendants but whose forefathers were assimilated among the Gentile nations. Now is the time for them to leave the present identities from where they were born and to come back to the Israelite identity, in spite of the fact that it still might not be possible for them to get Israeli citizenship. Now is the time for many of them to stop identifying mainly with the relatives and to return to the family of Israel. If they do not do both of these things, they will not be able to receive of the good that the Eternal wants to give them in this prophetic time that we are living in, as it is written in Hebrews 11:24-26,

“By faith Moshe, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Par’oh’s daughter; choosing rather to share ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the fleeting enjoyment of sin; considering the reproach of Messiah greater riches by the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward.”(MRC)

In Matthew 5:11-12, it is written,

“Blessed are you when men insult you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in Heaven is great. For in this way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”(MRC)

“You said, ‘I will surely do you good, and make your seed as the sand of the sea, which can't be numbered because there are so many.’” – In Ya’akov’s prayer, we see a summary of the prophetic words that were spoken over Avraham and Ya’akov, see 22:17; 28:13-15; 31:3. We can see, however, that they are not exactly identical. The Eternal had spoken things to Ya’akov that had not been written down until this time. He said to Avraham that his seed would be as the sand by the sea, but here it is talking about the sand of the sea. The sand by the sea is not the same as the sand of the sea. The sand by the sea represents Avraham’s and Ya’akov’s physical descendants, who were not assimilated among the nations. The sand of the sea represents all those descendants of Ya’akov who have lost their identity in the sea of the nations.

It is interesting to note that here, as Ya’akov is trying to return back from his diaspora, the truth about the descendants who are as the sand of the sea is brought out in a special way. This teaches us that in the last days, just at the time when the children of Israel return back to the land, the seed of Ya’akov that has been mixed in with the nations, is mentioned before the Eternal in a special way. Ya’akov prays for those of his descendants who will be as the sand of the sea. This means that he prayed for all those who would be assimilated with the Gentiles but who would once again step out and become a part of their real family, Israel’s family, during the time when the Jews return to the land of Israel. And in the same way that Ya’akov’s descendants were threatened with annihilation at the meeting with Esav, so Ya’akov’s children, who have been mixed in with the Gentiles but are now on the way to finding their true identity, are in great danger of the meeting with the false Roman-Christian system,[3] which comes from Esav. They run the risk of not coming home safely. But the Scriptures tell us how it will be. In the same way that Ya’akov’s family made it on account of his prayer for them, so his children will make it through the great tribulation, as it is written in Revelation 7:9-10, 14b-15,

“And after these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches in their hands;[4] and crying out with a great voice, saying, ‘Salvation to our God Who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’... These are the ones who are coming out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Because of this they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His Temple; and He Who is seated upon the throne shall tabernacle over them.”(MRC)

The Second Aliyah, 32:13-29

32:13 “And he lodged there that night; and took of that which he had with him a present for Esav his brother”(JPS revised) – Ya’akov did three things in preparation to meet his brother: sent gifts, prayed, and prepared himself for war. Do it through cunning.

32:14 “two hundred she-goats and twenty he-goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams”(JPS) – Two hundred she-goats needed twenty he-goats. It was the same for the rest of the animals. The number of males was determined according to the need of the females. A Midrash[5] interprets this passage in relation to the minimum amount of marriage relations that is determined by the Torah. For those who do not work it is at least daily. For those who work it is twice a week. For donkey herders it is once a week. For camel herders it is once every thirtieth day. For sailors it is once every sixth month. A set minimum of marriage relations is required of a husband toward his wife, according to Exodus 21:10 where it is written,

If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, and her marital rights.”(HNV)

32:24-25 “And Ya’akov was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Ya’akov's thigh was strained, as he wrestled with him.”(JPS revised) – Now the circumstances were such that he had to deal with the situation and make right what had been done wrongly in the beginning. Ya’akov had deceived his brother and now he could no longer flee but had to face and suffer the consequences of what he had done. To run away from problems is not the solution.

HaShem always brings us back to the point where we ran away from our responsibility in order to teach us to be mature and take responsibility for our actions, and to make right what we have done wrong.

Ya’akov could still have run away from his brother. So God sent one of his angels with the purpose of dealing with Ya’akov’s life. The angel’s assignment was to weaken him so that he would humble himself completely before the Eternal. Ya’akov was an incredibly strong man. This man, sent from HaShem, was now trying to get to Ya’akov in this physical and yet spiritual struggle.

It seems as though Ya’akov still had some trust in his own strength and intelligence. Why did he send all these animals and people before of him? He had a very clever strategy. He was trying to win Esav’s favor through bribery, through human effort, by his own abilities. But these things were not enough to calm Esav’s anger. The big problem in the meeting with Esav was Ya’akov’s heart. He was not yet ready to meet Esav. He had not given in to the Eternal. He had too much trust in himself. He was too strong, both physically and intellectually. That was Ya’akov’s problem.

"Did you stay behind in order to run away? Now I am taking away the last thing that you have, your own strength, so that you will not be able to run anymore. When Esav comes after you, you will be forced to take the bull by the horns and trust in HaShem and not in your own ability.”

The struggle between the angel and Ya’akov was a power struggle. Who is going to be in charge of Ya’akov’s life, HaShem or Ya’akov? The angel did not overpower Ya’akov. He was too strong in himself. Each time that angels are sent by HaShem it is to perform one of His acts on the earth. What assignment did this angel have? To break Ya’akov’s own strength so that he would be able to submit totally to the Eternal and stop trusting in himself.

When he could not overpower Ya’akov, he gave him the final blow. The strongest part of the body is the thigh and the hips. This was the angel’s last resort; to injure the strongest part of the body. This was the drop that made the cup run over. That blow was enough to break Ya’akov’s self sufficiency.

In Hosea 12:2-5, it is written,

“HaShem hath also a controversy with Yehudah, and will punish Ya’akov according to his ways, according to his doings will He recompense him. In the womb he took his brother by the heel, and by his strength he strove with God; So he strove with an angel, and prevailed; he wept, and made supplication unto him; at Beit-El he would find him, and there he would speak with us; But HaShem, the God of hosts, HaShem is His name.”(JPS revised)

This text shows us that HaShem was not pleased with Ya’akov’s ways until he was crushed and asked for help. The Hebrew word that is translated “prevailed” is va-yuchal and it comes from the root yachol[6], which means “could”, “win”, “persevere”, “suffer”. Victory came when he was crushed and admitted his need for help. This meeting in Beit-El was very important for Ya’akov, because here he could fulfill the three promises that he had made when he fled from his brother.

32:26-27 “The man said, ‘Let me go, for the day breaks.’ Ya`akov said, ‘I won’t let you go, unless you bless me.’ He said to him, ‘What is your name?’ He said, ‘Ya’akov.’”(HNV) – Ya’akov was crushed by the blow that the angel gave him. He had sent his servants and his family ahead and was left by himself, but he still had something left of his own strength. HaShem wanted him to get rid of that as well. Ya’akov wept and prayed desperately for help to continue on ahead. The angel said to him, “What is your name? Are you willing to admit who you are? Are you willing to accept the truth about who you really are? What is your name?” He answered, “My name is deceiver”. This was the point in Ya’akov’s life that HaShem wanted to get to, the point where he would admit who he really was in himself. “I am a deceiver.” One can imagine what must have been going through his mind. Why was his name deceiver? Because he took hold of his brother’s heel. Because he deceived his brother and robbed him of his birthright by selling him a bowl of lentil soup. Because he deceived his father and stole his brother’s blessing. Here he was forced to admit who he was. And the victory was found at that very point. The victory is in the admission of our faults. In brokenness there is victory. “I am Ya’akov”, he said and continued to weep. “I have to admit who I am. I have been a deceiver and that I have been deceived. That which I sowed to my brother and my father, I have reaped from my father-in-law. Part of my life has been fraudulent and now I don’t have any strength left to run away.”

That was the place of Ya’akov’s deep transformation. Our Rabbi Yeshua said, “Whosoever loses his life will find it”.

32:28 “He said, ‘Your name will no longer be called “Ya`akov,” but, “Isra'el,” for you have fought with God and with men, and have prevailed.’”(HNV) – This is the first time that the word Israel[7] occurs in the Scriptures. It means “he shall fight and rule as God” or “God shall fight and conquer”. It is connected with the word sarar,[8] which means “fight”, “exercise authority”, “behave nobly”.

This is the name that was given to a man who was broken, alone, wounded, sick, hurt, needy, and who admitted his weakness and his dependency on the Eternal. When he was at his weakest, he was given the name “Conqueror”. “You have fought with God and with men, and have prevailed.” How can we prevail in our struggle with God? By humbling ourselves and not resisting him any longer. HaShem fights against us when we are strong in ourselves, but when we give in to Him, we win. The struggle with HaShem is the very opposite of a struggle with people. In a human struggle the conqueror is the one who wins. But in the struggle with HaShem, the one who gives up is the one who wins.

“with men” – Rashi says that this is referring to Lavan and Esav. How could Ya’akov win a victory over Lavan? By obeying the Word of the Eternal and with straightness. How could he win a victory over Esav? By humbling himself before HaShem and before his brother.

32:29 “Ya’akov asked him, ‘Please tell me your name.’ He said, ‘Why is it that you ask what my name is?’ He blessed him there.”(HNV) – Where did he bless him? He blessed him at the place of brokenness, honesty, and truth. This is where the blessing is found that cannot be had through deception.

A Midrash[9] says that the angel admitted that Ya’akov had a right to the blessing that he had already taken for himself through deception, be-akvah, but now he received it in an honest fight. The Hebrew word for “fight”, va-yasar, which is found in Hosea 12:4, shows, according to Rashi, that Ya’akov fought in an honorable way.

In John 1:47, it is written,

“Yeshua saw Natan'el coming to him, and said about him, ‘Behold, an Isra'elite indeed, in whom is no deceit!’”(HNV)

This teaches us that in a true Israelite there is no deceit. Ya’akov had to stop the deception in order to become a true Israelite and be given the name Israel.

In the Book of Revelation chapters 2 and 3, there are seven different messages to the Messianic Jewish congregations in Asia Minor. Yeshua sent a specific message to each congregation according to the specific needs of each and every one. This is a reference to the true Israelites who conquer like Ya’akov.

  • “To him who overcomes I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of my God.”(2:7)(HNV)

  • “He who overcomes won’t be harmed by the second death.”(2:11)(HNV)

  • “To him who overcomes, to him I will give of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written, which no one knows but he who receives it.”(2:17)(HNV)

  • “He who overcomes, and he who keeps my works to the end, to him I will give authority over the nations. He will rule them with a rod of iron, shattering them like clay pots; as I also have received of my Father: and I will give him the morning star.”(2:26-28)(HNV)

  • “He who overcomes will be arrayed in white garments, and I will in no way blot his name out of the book of life, and I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.”(3:5)(HNV)

  • “He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will go out from there no more. I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Yerushalayim, which comes down out of heaven from my God, and my own new name.”(3:12)(HNV)

  • “He who overcomes, I will give to him to sit down with me on my throne, as I also overcame, and sat down with my Father on his throne.”(3:21)(HNV)

A true Israelite is a conqueror. The word Israel has to do with perseverance in the fight. These texts speak of having eternal life, of not suffering the second death, and of receiving a new name (which happened to Ya’akov). They speak of having authority over the nations, of being clothed in white clothes, of being confessed by Yeshua before the Father, of being a pillar in the temple, of having three heavenly names written on oneself, and of being able to sit on the Messiah’s throne with him. Whoever has gone through the experience of brokenness and a personal spiritual transformation and continues to persevere with faithfulness to the Eternal in the daily struggle of life until he reaches spiritual maturity, is a true Israelite and will be given all this.

The experience of brokenness that Ya’akov had to go through also refers to what Yeshua went through. His legs also came out of joint, as it is written in Psalm 22:14,

 “I am poured out like water. All my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax; It is melted within me.”(HNV)

The Third Aliyah, 32:30 – 33:5

32:30 “Ya’akov called the name of the place Peni'el: for, he said, ‘I have seen God face to face, and my soul is preserved.’”(HNV) – Peni’el means “God’s face”. In spite of the fact that he had had this intimate meeting with HaShem, his soul had been kept alive. This is the simple way that this text is understood, according to the peshat level. But we can also understand it on a deeper level. Ya’akov admitted that the place where he met with God face to face was the place of his soul’s salvation. (In Jewish tradition, the expression “face to face” is also another name for Yom Kippur, which occurs five days before Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles. After Peni’el, Ya’akov came to Sukkot.) “My soul was saved when I repented.” “My soul was saved when I humbled myself.” “There I was born again, and there I received a new name.” This agrees with what Yeshua teaches in Matthew 10:39, where it is written,

 “He who finds his life will lose it; and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.”(HNV)

32:31 “The sun shone for him as he passed over Peni'el, and he limped because of his thigh.”(HNV revised) – Hebrews 11:21 says that Ya’akov worshipped at the end of his life, leaning on the end of his staff. The question is if Ya’akov became an invalid for the rest of his life, and was forced to use a staff in order to walk.

According to Rashi, Ya’akov only limped when the sun shone, not afterwards. He quotes Malachi 4:2, where it is written,

“But to you who fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in its wings. You will go out, and leap like calves of the stall.”(HNV)

The Torah literally says that the sun shone for him. This shows us that there was something special that happened at the moment when the sun came up.[10] This is also referring to the moment when the Messiah, who is called the “sun of righteousness” in Malachi, will come back. Then all the dead who have believed in him will receive life, all those who are sick will be healed, and all Israel will be saved.

The blow that the angel gave is also pointing to the time of Ya’akov’s trouble, when he will be crushed by the attack of the nations of the world, as it is written in Jeremiah 30:7,

“Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Ya`akov’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.”(HNV)

In Daniel 12:7, it is written,

“I heard the man clothed in linen, who was above the waters of the river, when he held up his right hand and his left hand to heaven, and swore by him who lives forever that it shall be for a time, times, and a half; and when they have made an end of breaking in pieces the power of the holy people, all these things shall be finished.”(HNV)

At that time, as Ya’akov’s children weep and ask for help, the Eternal will come through his Mashiach, and save them, see Zechariah chapters 12 and 14.

In Hebrews 11:21, it is written,

By faith, Ya’akov, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Yosef, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.”(HNV)

The text is taken from Genesis 47:31 where the Hebrew word mitah[11], bed, was understood as mateh[12], rod. Both words are written the same way. In the Septuagint it was translated as rabdos[13], rod. And that was the way the author of the letter to the Hebrews understood it.

In this chapter about the heroes of the faith, there are only two acts of faith mentioned from Ya’akov’s life. Why is his staff mentioned specifically? The staff represents outside help. Ya’akov became a worshiper. Through all the struggles that he went through, he learned to worship the Eternal. The staff, where he leaned his head and prayed, reminded him of the moment when he was broken and was not able to walk without help. This gave him a deep sense of gratefulness, “If it was up to me, I would have been dead…” “HaShem, you are my well, my strength, and my protection.” “I have a desperate need of you at all times.” “You taught me this at Peni’el.” “Thank you for breaking me and blessing me there.”

The battle that Ya’akov fought during the night is also referring to the death of the Messiah. When the sun came up in the morning, he had already come out of the grave, as it is written in Mark 16:2,

“Very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen.”(HNV)

The rising of the sun speaks of the Messiah’s resurrection from the dead.

32:32 “Therefore the children of Isra'el don’t eat the sinew of the hip, which is on the hollow of the thigh, to this day, because he touched the hollow of Ya’akov’s thigh in the sinew of the hip.”(HNV) – This is the third of the 613 commandments in the Torah. These days this is called the “sciatic nerve”.

Here we have an example of the Eternal’s approval of a custom in Israel turning into a commandment. Since the children of Israel have this custom it is a part of their identity as a people and they follow this habit faithfully. The children of Israel have the obligation not to eat that sinew but the righteous among the nations, which are a part of the heavenly Israel, does not have the same obligation. But if they wish to keep this commandment they can do it voluntarily.

33:3 “He himself passed over in front of them, and bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother.”(HNV) – Now Ya’akov could meet his brother in the right way. He was a new man. We see how he takes responsibility and protects his family. He puts himself in front of them and goes to meet his brother by bowing to the ground seven times and thus humbling himself before him. We can respect a person even if he has an evil lifestyle. In this case Esav was worthy of respect simply because he was Ya’akov’s brother.

HaShem intervened supernaturally and took control over Esav’s desire for revenge. He did this because Ya’akov had humbled himself. During the hard night, Ya’akov had, with his prayer, released angelic activity that dealt with Esav’s heart. It was for the very reason of Ya’akov’s brokenness and repentance that his brother could be changed. When you have problems in relationships with your siblings, the solution is with you. If you want to have peace with your siblings, you need to change your attitude toward them!

33:4 “Esav ran to meet him, embraced him, fell on his neck, kissed him, and they wept.”(HNV) – In the original text, the Hebrew word that is translated “kissed him”, is marked with a dot over each letter. The rabbis have different opinions as to the meaning of these dots. Rashi explains that when dots are found over a word, it indicates that this word should be interpreted in a special way. If there are more letters without dots than there are letters with dots, the word is given its literal meaning and the dots are not considered. If there are more letters with dots than letters without dots, then each letter that is under a dot is also a word in addition to the word that is already written. In this case the amount of dots and the amount of letters are equal. That is why there are different opinions concerning how this should be interpreted. Some say that this should be interpreted as if the word was not there, in other words, that Esav’s kiss was not genuine. Others claim that it has the opposite meaning. In spite of the fact that Esav hated Ya’akov, he was filled with compassion for him at this moment, and kissed him with his whole heart.

33:5 “He lifted up his eyes, and saw the women and the children; and said, ‘Who are these with you?’ He said, ‘The children whom God has graciously given your servant.’”(HNV) – Children are gifts, given by the grace of the Eternal. Therefore the Hebrew text uses the word “chanan”,[14] which means “give mercy”. Anyone who has an abortion does not only despise God’s gift but also God himself and his Messiah as well, as it is written in Mark 8:37,

Whoever receives one such little child in my name, receives me, and whoever receives me, doesn’t receive me, but him who sent me.”(HNV)

The Fourth Aliyah, 33:6-20

33:10 “Ya’akov said, ‘Please, no, if I have now found favor in your sight, then receive my present at my hand, because I have seen your face, as one sees the face of God, and you were pleased with me.’”(HNV) – Instead of seeing an enemy, Ya’akov saw God in his brother, in spite of his bad lifestyle. He did not focus on the bad in Esav but he focused only on the godly that was still a part of him.

33:13 “Ya’akov said to him, ‘My lord knows that the children are tender, and that the flocks and herds with me have their young, and if they overdrive them one day, all the flocks will die.’”(HNV) – This is the attitude of a good shepherd. If one drives a flock too hard, it will die. The word that is translated “overdrive”[15] means “beat”, see Song of Songs 5:2. A good lider must be sensitive in order to urge the people forward at a pace that they can handle, without pressuring them, as it is written in 1 Peter 5:1-4,

“I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Messiah, and who will also share in the glory that will be revealed. Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, exercising the oversight, not under compulsion, but voluntarily, not for dishonest gain, but willingly; neither as lording it over the charge allotted to you, but making yourselves examples to the flock. When the chief Shepherd is revealed, you will receive the crown of glory that doesn’t fade away.”(HNV)

33:14 “Please let my lord pass over before his servant: and I will lead on gently, according to the pace of the cattle that are before me and according to the pace of the children, until I come to my lord to Se’ir.”(HNV) – This promise has not yet been fulfilled. Ya’akov never came to his brother in Se’ir. It will be fulfilled in the future, according to what is written in Obadiah 21,

“Saviors will go up on Mount Tziyon to judge the mountains of Esav, and the kingdom will be HaShem’s.”(HNV revised)

33:17 “Ya`akov traveled to Sukkot, built himself a house, and made shelters for his cattle. Therefore the name of the place is called Sukkot.”(HNV) – Sukkot[16] means “huts”. A sukkah can also refer to any temporary dwelling.[17] There are approximately 5 kilometers between Peni’el and Sukkot. According to Rashi, he stayed there over 2 summers, 18 months all together.

This text teaches us that Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, is the feast that is connected with the return of the children of Israel to the land. The Messiah prophetically fulfilled the four first annual feasts at his first coming. During his second coming, the remaining feasts will be fulfilled prophetically. Among them, Sukkot is the longest. This feast is pointing to the Messianic thousand-year reign, which will be a transition period from one phase to the next. A sukkah is only a temporary dwelling. After the thousand-year reign, the permanent dwelling of the Messiah and his bride, the New Yerushalayim, will come, see Revelation 20:3; 21:1-2.

33:18 “Ya’akov came in peace to the city of Shekhem, which is in the land of Kana’an, when he came from Paddan-Aram; and encamped before the city.”(HNV) – Rashi says that the word “in peace”, in Hebrew shalem, means that his body had now been healed from its lameness, that his belongings had not been lost, and that he had not forgotten his knowledge of the Torah while staying with Lavan.

But he had still not fulfilled his promise to go to Beit-El and give the tithe. Several problems arose because he was slow in fulfilling this promise.

Here he sets up camp by the city, without going into it. This teaches us that the children of Israel do not live according to this world’s system. They keep themselves outside. Being consecrated means being different than everyone else. It also means to exist only for the Eternal’s use.

33:19 “He bought the parcel of ground, where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shekhem’s father, for one hundred pieces of money.”(HNV) – This is the second piece of property that was purchased by the patriarchs in the land of Kana’an. The first piece of property that was purchased was at Machpelah, where Avraham bought a burial place for his wife Sarah.

33:20 “And he erected there an altar, and called it El-Elohe-Israel.”(JPS) – This is Ya’akov’s first altar. The name means “the Mighty One is Israel’s God”.

The Fifth Aliyah, 34:1 – 35:11

34:1 “Dinah, the daughter of Le'ah, whom she bore to Ya’akov, went out to see the daughters of the land.”(HNV) – Dinah was also Ya’akov’s daughter. Rashi says that the reason Leah is mentioned here is to show that this daughter was like her mother who also liked to go out, as it is written in 30:16a,

Ya`akov came from the field in the evening, and Le'ah went out to meet him.”(HNV)

34:2 “And Shekhem the son of Chamor the Hivite, the prince of the land, saw her; and he took her, and lay with her, and humbled her.”(JPS revised) – He took her only because he saw her. Man’s sexual drive is provoked by sight. This teaches us the importance of women not dressing provocatively, as it is written in 1 Timothy 2:9,

“In the same way, that women also adorn themselves in decent clothing, with modesty and propriety; not just with braided hair, gold, pearls, or expensive clothing”(HNV)

“and lay with her” – In this text the Torah does not use the word “knew”, which is the word commonly used to describe sexual relations, see Genesis 4:1, 17; 1 Kings 1:4; Luke 1:34. This shows us that he was not careful with her, but he used her without respect for her personal integrity. According to Rashi, this word means that he had natural relations with her.

“and humbled her” – According to Rashi, this means that he performed an unnatural act with her, see Deuteronomy 21:14, where the same Hebrew word is used.

A Midrash[18] says that Ya’akov was not willing to give Dinah to Esav, even though he was circumcised. That is why she was taken by an uncircumcised man.

34:7 “And the sons of Ya’akov came in from the field when they heard it; and the men were grieved, and they were very angry, because he had wrought a vile deed in Israel in lying with Ya’akov's daughter; which thing ought not to be done.”(JPS revised) – Two serious things happened here. First of all, they committed fornication by having sex without being in a marriage covenant. This is not done in Israel. Secondly, a person who was outside of the covenant of Avraham had mingled with a person from Israel. This is the first step on the way to the destruction of the consecrated people, see Ezra 10.

In Ephesians 5:5, it is written,

 “Know this for sure, that no sexually immoral person, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Messiah and God.”(HNV)

In 2 Corinthians 6:14, it is written,

“Don’t be unequally yoked with unbelievers, for what fellowship have righteousness and iniquity? Or what communion has light with darkness?”(HNV)

In 1 Corinthians 7:39, it is written,

“A wife is bound by law for as long as her husband lives; but if the husband is dead, she is free to be married to whoever she desires, only in the Lord.”(HNV)

35:1 “God said to Ya’akov, ‘Arise, go up to Beit-El, and live there. Make there an altar to God, who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esav your brother.’”(HNV) – Ya’akov was slow in fulfilling his promise of tithing, and that is why the problems with Dinah, as well as other problems, arose. Since he did not pay attention to the signals that the Eternal was sending him through these circumstances, He now tells him plainly that he is to go to the place where he made the three promises.

35:2 “Then Ya`akov said to his household, and to all who were with him, ‘Put away the foreign gods that are among you, purify yourselves, change your garments.’”(HNV) – The gods that they had taken as booty when they plundered the city of Shekhem had to be destroyed when they were to go to a consecrated place. Things that have been dedicated to idols are dangerous in two ways; they bring God’s wrath down on the owner and they are points of contact for evil spirits, as it is written in Deuteronomy 7:26,

“You shall not bring an abomination into your house, and become a devoted thing like it: you shall utterly detest it, and you shall utterly abhor it; for it is a devoted thing.”(JPS)

In Acts 15:20, it is written,

but that we write to them that they abstain from things polluted by idols and from fornication and from meats strangled and from blood.”(MRC)

Israel’s children had to do three things before they could travel up to the consecrated place in Beit-El. They had to put away the foreign gods, purify themselves, and change their clothes.

According to Rashi, the purification meant only the putting away of all idols. Rav Ibn Ezra, however, says that it speaks of an act of cleansing by water.

When you do a purification bath in water, it means that you go from a state of being ritually unclean to being ritually clean. In order to come near a place that has been consecrated by the presence of the Eternal, it is necessary for the body to be ritually clean. Anything that has been in contact with death produces ritual uncleanness. Some examples of this would be a corpse, menstrual bleeding, seminal fluid, a grave, the disease tzaraat (which has been translated as “leprosy”), etc. A water cistern that has a natural source, from the sky or from the earth, can serve as a place for ritual baths. Everything that comes into that cistern becomes clean, as it is written in Leviticus 11:36a,

“Nevertheless a fountain or a cistern wherein is a gathering of water shall be (remain) clean”(JPS)

It is possible that Ya’akov was not only speaking of destroying the idols, but also of the bodily purifying of all the family members, especially since they had been in contact with dead bodies in the city of Shekhem.

Concerning the changing of their clothes, Rashi says that the reason was probably that they owned clothing that was connected with idol worship, in the sense that they had impressions on them, which were associated with idolatry. This type of clothing is not to be used by the children of Israel or by the God fearers among the nations. It is a good habit to always check clothing before you buy it, to make sure that there are no pictures on it that would dishonor the King of the Ages.

35:4-5 “They gave to Ya`akov all the foreign gods which were in their hands, and the rings which were in their ears; and Ya`akov hid them under the oak which was by Shekhem. They traveled: and a terror of God was on the cities that were round about them, and they didn’t pursue the sons of Ya`akov.”(HNV) – If we have idols and their cultic objects in our possession, our enemies will have power to harm us. But when we remove all idol worship from among us and determine to worship and obey the Only One who is God, he will cause our enemies to fear us.

35:7 “He built an altar there, and called the place El-Beit-El; because there God was revealed to him, when he fled from the face of his brother.”(HNV) – El-Beit-El means “Beit-El’s Mighty One”, or, as Rashi says, “the Consecrated One is in Beit-El”. We see that Ya’akov is more interested in the Eternal than in his house. This shows spiritual maturity. This is the second altar that Ya’akov built. The patriarchs built seven altars all together in the land. Avraham built four, Yitzchak built one, and Ya’akov built two. The seven altars were in the following places:







Moreh & Shekhem

Teacher & Shoulder




Beit-El & ‘Ai

God’s House & Ruin




Mamreh & Chevron

Strength & Unification




Moriah & HaShem Yireh

Instruction & HaShem will see





The Seven-Well or Oath-Well




Shekhem & El-Elohei-Israel

Shoulder & The Mighty One is Israel’s God




Luz, Beit-El & El-Beit-El

Almond, God’s House & The Mighty One’s Beit-El



35:10 “And God said unto him: ‘Thy name is Ya’akov: thy name shall not be called any more Ya’akov, but Israel shall be thy name’; and He called his name Israel.”(JPS) – After Avraham received his new name, the Torah never mentions his old name again. But when Ya’akov received a new name, the Torah continues to use his old name. Why? If we put the symbolic meaning of the human nature in the name Ya’akov and the prophetic nature in the name Israel, we learn that we will always, until the coming of the Messiah, struggle with our natural human nature, no matter how dedicated we are. When the Messiah comes, we will be completely changed, so that there is no Ya’akov left in us, but only Israel. Baruch HaShem – Blessed be The Name!

35:11 “God said to him, ‘I am God the All Sufficient. Be fruitful and multiply. A nation and a company of nations will be from you, and kings will come out of your loins.’”(HNV) – Ya’akov already had 11 sons and one daughter. Now the All Sufficient One commands him to be even more fruitful.

“a nation” – This refers to Binyamin, who was not yet born.

“a company of nations” – This refers to Efrayim and Menasheh, who would be adopted as Ya’akov’s own sons.

We can also understand this text on a deeper level and say that out of Ya’akov would come a nation, the Jewish nation, but also a congregation of gentiles. The word that is used here for “nations” is goyim, which also means “gentiles”. The Septuagint translates it this way: “synagogues of nations”. This could be a reference to all the congregations of non-Jews that would come into being through the Christian message. The individuals within these congregations, who have received the Messiah’s Spirit, are a part of Israel’s and Avraham’s descendants, as it is written in Galatians 3:7,

“Know therefore that those who are of faith, the same are children of Avraham.”(HNV)

It also speaks of Ya’akov’s descendants who are represented in Efrayim and who have been mixed in among the nations of the world, and who now make up Christian congregations. They are also a fulfillment of this prophecy.

The Sixth Aliyah, 35:12 – 36:19

35:16-19 “They traveled from Beit-El. There was still some distance to come to Efratah, and Rachel travailed. She had hard labor. It happened that, when she was in hard labor, that the midwife said to her, ‘Don’t be afraid, for now you will have another son.’ It happened, as her soul was departing (for she died), that she named him Ben-oni, but his father named him Binyamin. Rachel died, and was buried in the way to Efratah (the same is Beit-Lechem)”(HNV revised) – Very close to Beit-Lechem, the dying Rachel gave birth to one who was named “son of my sorrow”, but who’s name was changed by his father to “son of my right hand”[19] or “son of the South”. All this speaks of the Messiah, who would be born in Efrat,[20] “fruitful”, which is also called Beit-Lechem, “house of bread”, as it is written in Micah 5:2,

“But you, Beit-Lechem Efratah, Being small among the clans of Yehudah, Out of you one will come forth to me that is to be ruler in Yisra'el; Whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.”(HNV)

The Messiah would be the son of sorrow, as it is written in Psalm 116:3,

“The cords of death surrounded me, The pains of She'ol got a hold of me. I found trouble and sorrow.”(HNV)

But his sorrow was changed into joy by the Father, as it is written in John 16:20,

“Most assuredly I tell you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice. You will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will be turned into joy.”(HNV)

The Messiah would also become the Son of the Father’s right hand, as it is written in Psalm 110:1,

HaShem says to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand, Until I make your enemies your footstool for your feet.’”(HNV revised)

In the place where Rachel gave birth, there was both death and new life. That points to the Messiah who would be born in Beit-Lechem, and who would die and rise again in order to be lifted up to the right hand of the Father in heaven, as it is written in Hebrews 1:3,

“His Son is the radiance of his glory, the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself made purification for our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high”(HNV)

The Seventh Aliyah, 36:20-43

36:2 “Esav took his wives from the daughters of Kana`an: `Adah the daughter of Elon, the Hittite; and Oholivamah the daughter of `Anah, the daughter of Tziv`on, the Hivvite.”(HNV) – `Adah’s name was also Basemat, according to Genesis 26:34. Oholivamah’s name was also Yehudit, according to Genesis 26:34.

Esav’s genealogy is full of corruption. Tzivon laid with Anah’s wife, and thus Oholivamah was born. Therefore the Torah says that Oholivamah was both the daughter of Anah (her official father) and Tzivon (her biological father).

36:3 “And Basemat, Yishma'el’s daughter, sister of Nevayot.”(HNV) – In Genesis 28:9, Basemat is called Machalat.

36:4 “`Adah bore to Esav Elifaz. Basemat bore Re`u'el.”(HNV) – Elifaz was Esav’s firstborn son. He was one of Yov’s friends, (Job 2:11, compare Genesis 36:11).

36:5 “Oholivamah bore Ye`ush, Ya`lam, and Korach. These are the sons of Esav, who were born to him in the land of Kana`an.”(HNV) – This Korach was illegitimate. He was the son of Elifaz, who had been with his father’s wife, with Oholivamah who was Esav’s wife. In verses 15-16 we see that Korach was the son of Elifaz.

36:11 “The sons of Elifaz were Teman, Omar, Tzefo, and Ga`tam, and Kenaz.”(HNV) – This Tzefo became king in Greece and Italy.[21] Josippon’s book[22] says that Tzefo had a grandchild by the name of Latinus, and later a descendant named Romulus. It was he who founded the city of Rome.

36:12 “Timna was concubine to Elifaz, Esav’s son; and she bore to Elifaz `Amalek. These are the sons of `Adah, Esav’s wife.”(HNV) – According to 1 Chronicles 1:36, Timna was the daughter of Elifaz. That teaches us that Elifaz lay with Seir’s wife, and thus Timna was born. Then Elifaz took her as a concubine. Therefore verse 22 says that Timna was “Lotan’s sister”. She was his sister by the mother, not the father. Amalek was born out of the union of Elifaz and Timna. His descendants would later become Israel’s worst enemies throughout all of history, as it is written in Exodus 17:16,

“He said, ‘HaShem has sworn: “HaShem will have war with `Amalek from generation to generation.’”(HNV)

Haman was a descendant of Amalek. Herod was a descendant of Amalek. According to the word in Exodus, there is an Amalek in every generation who is an archenemy of Israel. Who is the Amalek of today?

36:20 “These are the sons of Se`ir the Horite, the inhabitants of the land: Lotan, Shoval, Tziv`on, `Anah”(HNV) – Notice that it says here that Tzivon and Anah were Se’ir’s children, in other words, siblings.

36:24 “These are the children of Tziv`on: Ayah and `Anah. This is `Anah who found the mules in the wilderness, as he fed the donkeys of Tziv`on his father.”(HNV revised) – Here it says that Anah was Tzivon’s son. How does this fit together since it already said that he was his brother? Rashi clues us in by saying that Tzivon laid with his own mother, Se’ir’s wife, and she had Anah.[23] Tzivon was, therefore, both father and older brother to Anah. We saw earlier that Tzivon also lay with his daughter-in-law, who also was his sister-in-law, Anah’s wife. This is how Oholivamah was born, who was Esav’s second wife. Anah was a mamzer, illegitimate, who was born through a forbidden relationship. His mind was perverted, and he bred one of his father’s donkeys with a mare. In this way he discovered the mule. The Hebrew word that is translated as “mules” is yemim, which is the plural form of yem[24] and this means “warm spring” or “mule”. Rashi says that here it means “mule”. This is logical since it also mentions Anah watching over his father Tzivon’s donkeys. From those donkeys he bred mules.

36:31 “And these are the kings that reigned in the land of Edom, before there reigned any king over the children of Israel.”(JPS) – As we said earlier, when one had the upper hand, the other was under his rule, and vice versa. Here we see that Edom began having kings before Israel did. But when Israel had kings, Edom had only rulers, as we can see in verses 40-43. The eight Edomite kings were followed by eight Israelite kings; from Shaul to Yoram, as it is written in 2 Kings 8:20-22a,

“In his days Edom revolted from under the hand of Yehudah, and made a king over themselves. Then Yoram passed over to Tza`ir, and all his chariots with him: and he rose up by night, and struck the Edom who surrounded him, and the captains of the chariots; and the people fled to their tents. So Edom revolted from under the hand of Yehudah to this day.”(HNV)

36:40, 43a “These are the names of the chiefs who came from Esav, according to their families, after their places, and by their names: chief Timna, chief `Alvah, chief Yetet… chief of Magdi'el”(HNV revised) – According to Rashi, each of these names correspond with geographical places, as it says “their places”. The place Magdi’el is the same as Rome. A Midrash[25] says that as a reward for moving away from the area that he shared with his brother Ya’akov and settling in another land, see 36:6, Esav had the honor of, through his descendants, founding 120 nations, from Se’ir to Magdi’el.

The name Magdi’el is interpreted as “God increased”, alluding to the fact that God gave the Roman civilization more power and greatness than the other nations (Gur Ariyeh).

Esav had two important merits. He honored his father and he respected his brother Ya’akov’s territory. Therefore his civilization would conquer and grow to become a great empire, the Roman Empire.

But, as we said earlier, in the end his kingdom will be replaced by the kingdom of the descendants of Ya’akov, as the Messiah Yeshua said in Matthew 19:30,

“But many will be last who are first; and first who are last.”(HNV)

[1]       Strong H4397 mal'âk, mal-awk', From an unused root meaning to despatch as a deputy; a messenger; specifically of God, that is, an angel (also a prophet, priest or teacher): - ambassador, angel, king, messenger.

[2]       Strong G32, ἄγγελος, aggelos, ang'-el-os, From ἀγγέλλω aggellō (probably derived from G71; compare G34; to bring tidings); a messenger; especially an “angel”; by implication a pastor: - angel, messenger.

[3]       There are discussions going on at this time of uniting all churches, including the Messianic movement, with the Catholic Church. It is called the “Toward Jerusalem Council II”. The Catholic priest Peter Hocken has drawn out the theological guidelines. Be warned of this treachery! Esav still wants to destroy Ya’akov’s descendants. If he cannot do it with violence, he will try to do it with craftiness. Ya’akov did not agree to travel one kilometer with Esav or even to have any of his men in the company on the way home to Israel. We do not need the help of the Edom-Rome system to get home to Yerushalayim!

[4]       This is a reference to Sukkot, Feast of Tabernacles, which will be celebrated during the whole thousand year reign, which also is called the Messianic Reign.

[5]       Bereshit Rabbah 76:7.

[6]       Strong H3201 yâkôl  yâkôl, yaw-kole', yaw-kole', A primitive root; to be able, literally (can, could) or morally (may, might): - be able, any at all (ways), attain, can (away with, [-not]), could, endure, might, overcome, have power, prevail, still, suffer.

[7]       Strong H3478, yiśra'el, yis-raw-ale', From H8280 and H410; he will rule as God; Jisrael, a symbolical name of Jacob; also (typically) of his posterity: - Israel.

Strong H8280 śarah, saw-raw', A primitive root; to prevail: - have power (as a prince).

Strong H410 ale, Shortened from H352; strength; as adjective mighty; especially the Almighty (but used also of any deity): - God (god), X goodly, X great, idol, might (-y one), power, strong. Compare names in “-el.”

Strong H352 'ayil, ah'-yil, From the same as H193; properly strength; hence anything strong; specifically a chief (politically); also a ram (from his strength); a pilaster (as a strong support); an oak or other strong tree: - mighty (man), lintel, oak, post, ram, tree.

[8]       Strong 8323 śarar, saw-rar', A primitive root; to have (transitively exercise; reflexively get) dominion: -  X altogether, make self a prince, (bear) rule.

[9]       Midrash Agadah. See also Rashi.

[10]     See Talmud Sanhedrin 95b.

[11]     Strong H4296 miṭṭâh mit-taw' From H5186; a bed (as extended) for sleeping or eating; by analogy a sofa, litter or bier: - bed ([-chamber]), bier.

[12]     Strong H4294 mat-teh', mat-taw' From H5186; a branch (as extending); figuratively a tribe; also a rod, whether for chastising (figuratively correction), ruling (a sceptre), throwing (a lance), or walking (a staff; figuratively a support of life, for example bread): - rod, staff, tribe.

[13]     Strong G4464 ῥάβδος rhabdos hrab'-dos From the base of G4474; a stick or wand (as a cudgel, a cane or a baton of royalty): - rod, sceptre, staff.


[14]     Strong H2603 chanan, khaw-nan', A primitive root (compare H2583); properly to bend or stoop in kindness to an inferior; to favor, bestow; causatively to implore (that is, move to favor by petition): - beseech, X fair, (be, find, shew) favour (-able), be (deal, give, grant (gracious (-ly), intreat, (be) merciful, have (shew) mercy (on, upon), have pity upon, pray, make supplication, X very.

[15]     Strong H1849 daphaq, daw-fak', A primitive root; to knock; by analogy to press severely: - beat, knock, overdrive.

[16]     Strong H5523 sukkoth  sukkoth, sook-kohth', sook-kohth', Plural of H5521; booths; Succoth, the name of a place in Egypt and of three in Palestine: - Succoth.

[17]     See page 465, note number 190 in “La Torá con Rashí”, Bereshit, translated, explained, and commented on by Aryeh Coffman, Editorial Jerusalem de México © 2001.

[18]     Bereshit Rabbah 76:8.

[19]     Strong H3225 yamiyn, yaw-meen', From H3231; the right hand or side (leg, eye) of a person or other object (as the stronger and more dexterous); locally, the south: -  + left-handed, right (hand, side), south.

[20]     Strong H672 'ephrath  'ephrathah, ef-rawth', ef-raw'-thaw, From H6509; fruitfulness; Ephrath, another name for Bethlehem; once used in Psalm 132:6 perhaps for Ephraim; also of an Israelitish woman: - Ephrath, Ephratah.

[21]     See Flavius Josefus and the Book of Jasher 61:25.

[22]     Josippon 1:2 (written year 953), see http://50.1911encyclopedia.org/J/JO/JOSIPPON.htm

[23]     Bereshit Rabbáh 82:15; Pesayim 54a.

[24]     Strong H3222 yem, yame, From the same as H3117; a warm spring: - mule.

[25]     Pirké d´Rabí Eliézer 38.