In Parshat Vayishlach Yaakov divides his group into two camps so that if one is attacked the other might escape. How did he divide people between them? Did Leah go in one and Rachel in the other, for example? How were his children divided? Were they equal camps, or was the idea that he could position a battle-ready camp to protect a camp containing all the weaker people?

Later when he meets Esav an order is given, but that seems to be one ordered procession, not two separate groups.


1 Answer 1


The Lubavitcher Rebbe zt"l states (Likkutei Sichos, vol. 15, p. 269), based on his analysis of the relevant verses, that the one camp contained Yaakov's livestock and the people responsible for taking care of them, while the other contained his family.

The point of this, the Rebbe explains, was that Yaakov was preparing for his prayer, in which he would, so to speak, "remind" Hashem of His promises of safety for him and his descendants. But Hashem had never guaranteed that Yaakov's wealth would be preserved! So he first separated his family from his goods, saying, "If the one camp [containing my possessions] will be destroyed, then the other camp [with my wives and children] will definitely be saved (והיה המחנה הנשאר לפליטה) - because, Hashem, You have promised that You will be with me..."

  • What a great insight! Commented Dec 8, 2011 at 3:51
  • I'm not sure how this makes sense. 1) God only promises to protect Yaakov individually not specific members of his family. 2) What about the concern of 'perhaps a sin caused' meaning how does he know he still merits protection? 3) One cannot rely on a miracle 4) If none of the above is an issue why divide the camps at all? Let Eisav come, take the money and go, if Yaakov is so sure his family will be spared why take this seemingly meaningless precaution? Commented Nov 26, 2012 at 3:50

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