The taste of Shabbat – Vayishlach 5778
Rav Mordechai Elon
וַיִּוָּ תֵ֥ר יַַֽעֲ קב לְבַדּ֑וֹ וַ יַֽאָּ בֵ֥ק אִּישׁ֙ עִּמּ֔וֹ עַֹ֖ד עֲלֵ֥וֹת הַשַָּֽחַר. 1
And Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until the break of dawn.
This is how the Torah describes the nocturnal battle between Yaacov and Eisav's guardian angel. The Torah uses the word "wrestle", but why did he wrestle? What was the wrestle about? Why is the wrestling mentioned again in the following pasuk:
וַ ירְא כִִּּ֣י לֹ֤ א יָּ כלׁ֙ לּ֔וֹ וַיִּגַֹ֖ע בְכַף יְ רכּ֑וֹ וַ תקַעׁ֙ כַף יִֶּ֣ רֶֶ֣ךְ יַַֽעֲ קב בְ האַָּֽבְקֹ֖וֹ
When he saw that he could not prevail against him, he touched the socket of his hip, and the socket of Jacob's hip became dislocated as he wrestled with him Rashi's first explanation isn’t simple:
Wrestle – ויאבק And a man became covered with dust, derived from אָּבָּק , dust, for they were raising dust with their feet through their movements… Our Rabbis that this was the guardian angel of Eisav This explanation, connecting to the word for dust to the word for wrestling via a shared root is technical, and doesn’t explain the underlying claim of the angel. This is in contrast to the last parsha, in which we were given a full account of Lavan's claims. So still, Why does Eisav's angel fight Yaacov?