Shabbat Vayishlach (Gen 32:4 – 36:43)

Courtesy of Julie Seltzer and

I love this part of the Torah. There is so much going on.

In this portion, Jacob’s story continues. He wrestles with himself, with an angel, or with God. (maybe that should be “and” instead of “or”)

He meets and reconciles with Esau (although there is a questionable “embrace”) during their reunion.

And he is forced to finally deal with his only daughter, when she is raped (or maybe not) and his sons decide to exact a vengeance of their own.

My focus this year is on a single word: “vayishkehu” – kissed. In the Torah, each letter of this word has a dot over it, which you can see here:

This is one of only a few places where dots appear in the Torah. The dots are not vowels or other markings. In reality nobody knows exactly why they are there, but clearly they are meant to draw our attention to that word.

Some Rabbis speculate that Torah is telling us that a kiss is NOT just a kiss, that here it’s saying Esau attempted to bite or somehow harm Jacob. The dots over the letters represent the teeth marks.

So limited only by your creativity and the category of food assigned, please bring a food with “bite”.