The decision whether to use diplomacy, prayer or action or all three is not an easy one. Consider approaching a rabbi to seek wisdom and request guidance when faced with a particularly difficult challenge,

From a Biblical perspective, our Forefather Jacob’s preparation for, and his encounter with, his brother Esau was a pivotal moment in early Jewish history. His decision to send gifts, engage in prayer and at the same time prepare for war were not only critical at that moment, but also provide guidance from which we can learn how to approach unfortunate and difficult circumstances when they present themselves. What is perhaps more consequential is the way in which Jacob divides his family in anticipation of their meeting with his brother Esau, his reasons for doing so and the possible negative consequences in, apparently, showing favoritism to both his wife Rachel and their son Joseph.

To better understand the challenges that Jacob faced and his resulting action, read this enlightening analysis entitled “Jacob Lines Up His Family for the Encounter With Esau” from Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald’s Torah message for Vayishlach 5772-2011. Out of respect for Shabbat, please consider printing it on Friday afternoon if you plan to read it on Shabbat.