Thoughts & Ideas
BITESIZE TORAH – RABBI LIONEL ROSENFELD
In this week’s Parsha of Vayishlach, Jacob’s fateful meeting with his brother Esau passes off peacefully, and we read (ch.33 v.18), “And Jacob arrived “shalem” (meaning ‘safely’ or ‘unharmed’) in the city of Shechem, in the land of Canaan.” Commenting on the Hebrew word used for ‘safely’, Rabbi Tzvi Elimelech of Hungary (1783-1841) writes in his book ‘Bnei Yissachar’ that the three letters of the word Shalem (Shin, Lamed, Mem) are also the initial letters of the words ‘Shem’- name, ‘Lashon’ – language and ‘Malbush’- clothing. What’s the connection?
Although Jacob spent two decades in the house of his uncle Laban, far from his Hebrew roots, he did not change his Hebrew name, language or mode of dress, but returned to Canaan safely in the traditions of his fathers. Similarly, say our Rabbis, the Israelites merited to leave Egypt because they too retained their names, language and clothing. Shabbat Shalom.