Take the 2-minute tour ×
Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Yaakov divides his family into two camps stating that if Eisav attacks one the other will flee and be saved. However his whole family seems to be be there when Eisav arrives, furthermore Yaakov himself states (and it seems to be a metzius) that families with belongings travel far slower than Eisav and his warriors. As such how would sending one camp away have worked in practice and why didn't he actually send the camp away at all?

share|improve this question
1  
    
I remember learning that Rachel was not there, and she was pregnant with Binyamin at the time, therefor Binyamin did not bow down to Eisav with the rest. I wish I could remember all the details so I could post it as an answer - I'll try to see if I can find it. –  Ariel Nov 26 '12 at 4:20
    
Re "his whole family seems to be be there when Eisav arrives", see judaism.stackexchange.com/q/11977. –  msh210 Nov 26 '12 at 4:42
    
by that line I am referring to the chazal that all of Yaakov's family (except Binyamin and Dina) bowed to Eisav –  not-allowed to change my name Nov 26 '12 at 5:12
add comment

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

After struggling and overcoming the angel of Eisav, spiritually Yaakov now knew that his encounter with Eisav would be successful and that there was no need to send away the second camp. Furthermore Yaakov felt that his method of bribery/appeasement, which had worked with Eliphaz would be successful enough to abate Eisav's anger.

I believe the way it could have worked in theory had it been necessary would be that they would leave the animals and most of the belongings behind so as to be able to travel more quickly. Yaakov specifies that traveling with children and all of the family belongings are what slows them down; it is reasonable to assume that traveling with servants (especially angelic ones) and women and children only would be able to move more quickly.

share|improve this answer
    
This is the only answer I have seen that seems to answer all related questions adequately. Do you have a source for this? –  Gabi Nov 16 '13 at 16:43
add comment

The Gutnick Chumash brings the Lubavitcher Rebbe's explanation of the verse according to Rashi.

Read it for full detail, but in short:

Yaakov was sure that G-d would protect his family. He was not sure that G-d would keep his fortune intact. He therefore split his family and their essentials in one camp, and the rest of his fortune in the other camp. Yaakov figured that "if Eisav will hit one camp (i.e. his belongings) the other camp will surely be spared (i.e. family).

We see later that all the family was together when they met Eisav.

share|improve this answer
    
I'm not sure how that solves the problem A) why wasn't the second camp (family) missing when Eisav showed up? B) Yaakov himself indicates that family travels slowly, so why would they be spared (ie. why wouldn't Eisav be able to catch and kill the second camp?) and more importantly C) where in the text do we see that Yaakov was sure God would protect his family? If anything we see the opposite –  not-allowed to change my name Nov 26 '12 at 3:30
    
@vram: A) It doesn't say that he sent one of the camps away, it says that he split them into two parts. B,C) Rashi to verses 10 and 13 talk about Yaakov having G-d's blessings that He would be with him. This includes the blessings of Avraham regarding his children. This is why Rashi says the second camp will be spared. –  Menachem Nov 26 '12 at 4:06
    
if one camp isn't sent away why bother dividing them? God's promise isn't to protect yaakov's entire family it's just to protect him and insure that he will have kids. doesn't mean most or all of his kids can't be killed or otherwise harmed (as they later on are) –  not-allowed to change my name Nov 26 '12 at 4:18
    
@vram: Rashi Bereshit 28:15 seems to indicate that the promise refers to all of Yaakov's children (as opposed to Avraham and Yitzchak) - chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/8223/showrashi/true#v15 –  Menachem Nov 26 '12 at 17:00
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.