Jacob's Vow

Jacob thought he could fulfill his vow outside of the Temple Mount and was punished. We cannot even pray there.

Professor Gerald Aranoff,

Judaism Prof. G. Aranoff
Prof. G. Aranoff

We read in this week’s Torah reading: "...and instructed them as follows, thus shall you say, ‘To my lord Esau, thus says your servant Jacob: I stayed with Laban and remained until now;"(Gen. 32:5).

The Malbim says that the hatefulness of Esau to Jacob was because of Isaac’s blessings, so Jacob showed Esau that Isaac’s blessings were fulfilled with Esau and not with him, for Isaac's intentions were to bless Esau and not him.  

Be master over your brothers, (Gen. 27:29) was fulfilled with Esau for Jacob says To my lord Esau, thus says your servant Jacob (Gen. 32.5). 

Also the blessing Of the dew of heaven and the fat of the earth (Gen. 27:28) was fulfilled with Esau for Esau conquered a unique land and Esau is the officer and ruler there.

Not in me (Jacob) since I stayed in the land that wasn’t mine.  For a long time, as it says and remained until now.

At the end Gen.33 we read:

But Jacob journeyed on to Succoth, and built a house for himself and made stalls for his cattle; that is why the place was called Succoth. Jacob arrived safe in the city of Shechem which is in the land of Canaan—having come thus from Paddan-aram—and he encamped before the city. The parcel of land where he pitched his tent he purchased from the children of Hamor, Shechem’s father, for a hundred kesitahs. He set up an altar there, and called it Elokey Yisrael. (Gen.33:17-20)

The Malbim says But Jacob journeyed on to Succoth,…Esau wanted his men to cooperate with Jacob, as they later did in the time of King Herod. 

King Herod was an anti-Zionist king who killed rabbis, appointed unfit high priests and so forth.

The Malbim says the Bible is telling us why the story of Dinah happened to Jacob---because Jacob did not fulfill his vow. The Bible states: and he encamped before the city this was not the way he camped at Succoth separate from the city and its people.  For here he encamped before the city and mingled with the people. He made his dwelling there.  

Shabbat 33b states: “ for it is written, Jacob arrived safe [to the city of Shechem], which Rab interpreted. Bodily whole [sound], financially whole, and whole in his learning. And he was gracious to the city., Rab said: He instituted coinage for them. Samuel said: He instituted markets for them; R. Johanan said: He instituted baths for them. Is there ought that requires amending? he asked.”

The Malbim says: "The parcel of land where he pitched his tent he purchased, he made known his intention to settle there.  Don’t say purchased with small payment for that would be to stay only a short time, for he purchased it for a hundred kesitahs."

Interesting, we read in Job: After the Lord had spoken these words to Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “I am incensed at you and your two friends, for you have not spoken the truth about Me as did My servant Job. Now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to My servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. And let Job, My servant, pray for you; for to him I will show favor and not treat you vilely, since you have not spoken the truth about Me as did My servant Job.” Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did as the Lord had told them, and the Lord showed favor to Job. The Lord restored Job’s fortunes when he prayed on behalf of his friends, and the Lord gave Job twice what he had before. All his brothers and sisters and all his former friends came to him and had a meal with him in his house. They consoled and comforted him for all the misfortune that the Lord had brought upon him. Each gave him one kesitah and each one gold ring. (Job 42:7-11)

The midrash says that Eliphaz the Temanite is the same person mentioned in Genesis: These are the names of Esau’s sons: Eliphaz… (Gen. 36:10). The payment of kesitah appears in Job and here.

This reinforces the midrash that God sent true prophets to the gentiles before Mount Sinai teaching Torah. Gentiles cannot claim God never offered them the Torah before Mount Sinai.

Later, There he built an altar and named the site El-bethel (Gen.35:7) that is to say, that the place generates Divine Inspiration.  Now Jacob calls Yisrael [himself] causes Divine Inspiration in any place Jacob is and he called it El-elohe-yisrael.  For this reason the matter of Dinah happened to him to force him to leave there and to fulfill his vow.

We yearn so much for the place of the Temple Mount, which causes Divine inspiration. Jacob said: Shaken, he said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the abode of God, and that is the gateway to heaven.” (Gen. 28:17).

Rabbi Eichler writes” Verily, those who know the history of the Ishmaelites, indeed we all know it as longtime neighbors, know that “Al Aksa” already ignited a large fire 86 years ago, the pogroms of 1928-1929.” Rabbi Eichler says it’s life threatening to go up today to the Temple Mount.

We pray in our morning prayers every day: for kingship is the Lord’s and He rules the nations (Psalms 22:29). For liberators shall march up on Mount Zion to wreak judgment on Mount Esau; and dominion shall be the Lord’s (Obadiah 1:21). And the Lord shall be king over all the earth; in that day there shall be one Lord with one name (Zachariah 14:9).

Rashi says on Obadiah 1:21 to wreak judgment on Mount Esau to complete the conquest of the archenemy, Esau, whose descendants are responsible for the current exile. 

Today, our enemies of the Ishmaelites and Edomites don’t accept that God rules the nations but they will when all nations proclaim Him as their King.