The Torah tells us in Parshas Vayishlach that Yaakov says:

וַֽיְהִי־לִי֙ שׁ֣וֹר וַחֲמ֔וֹר - I have acquired oxen and asses

There are some commentaries that connect this very specific posuk to Moshiach ben Yosef and Moshiach ben David (see for example the Pri Tzadik, Parshas Vayishlach 3:1 and specifically the Shem MiShmuel, Parashas Vayishlach. 7:7).

How could it be explained that this very posuk, where Yaakov tells that he has "acquired oxen and asses" refer to Moshiach ben Yosef, and Moshiach ben David? What is the (deeper) meaning behind this? (the more sources, the better)

The Shelah (Torah Shebichsav, Vayishlach, Torah Ohr) mentions that the word חמור (donkey) is understood as a reference to the Messiah who traditionally is perceived as riding on a donkey. But according to this, what would it mean that Yaakov told Eisav "I have acquired these". What is the deeper meaning behind what he says in this special encounter?

1 Answer 1


R. Shneur Zalman of Liadi explains (in Torah Ohr, Vayishlach) that Yaakov comes from the "World of Tikun" (our present existence, in which the Sefiros work together harmoniously), and Eisav, from the "World of Tohu," where the Sefiros are much more intense. Tohu is "higher" than Tikun, and so Yaakov wanted to bring the transcendent Divine energy of Tohu down into Tikun, thinking that Eisav is ready for that.

So he starts by informing him that he's accomplished all of Tikun, to the extent that he has Moshiach ben Yosef and Moshiach ben Dovid and everything else represented by "the sheep, slave and maidservant," and then asks Eisav to contribute his efforts.

To expand on that last point (as per the OP's request in comments):

It is cited in the name of R. Shneur Zalman (Pelach Harimon, Shemos, p. 7) that "for exalted souls such as that of R. Shimon bar Yochai, the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash never took place," so rarefied a perception of G-dliness did they experience. In a similar vein, a story is told of R. Shneur Zalman's elder colleague and teacher, R. Menachem Mendel of Horodok, that when some fellow blew a shofar, and people thought Moshiach had come, R. Mendel opened the window, sniffed the outside air, and said that no, Moshiach is not here yet. Why did he need to check the outside? Because in his own room, Moshiach - i.e., the open revelation of G-dliness that we will all have at this time - was already there!

So with Yaakov it was the same way. He already perceived Moshiach "in the air" as a result of his efforts during his stay with Lavan (from whom, RSZ explains in Torah Ohr there, he received a transcendent level of G-dly energy even beyond both Yaakov and Eisav), and so he thought that the world at large - whose exemplar is Eisav - was ready for it too.

  • TY. I am not that familiair with kabbalah, so could you maybe explain these concepts a bit more? What does it mean that Yaakov "had" MbY and MbD?
    – Shmuel
    Commented Mar 4 at 20:01
  • @Shmuel For Tohu and Tikun (and Yaakov and Eisav), try chabad.org/parshah/article_cdo/aid/35866/jewish/…. For Yaakov "having" both Moshiachs - in other words, he's already accomplished, on a spiritual level, everything that needs to be done in order for them to come and complete history.
    – Meir
    Commented Mar 5 at 2:32
  • thanks, but what does that mean :) What does it mean that he has done everything that was needed?
    – Shmuel
    Commented Mar 5 at 19:08
  • @Shmuel Everything in our physical world is a reflection of something in the spiritual worlds. (When we say that the Avos kept mitzvos, that often means on such spiritual levels - see judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/4078/avot-keeping-mitzvot.) A change or an accomplishment in those realms ought to immediately translate into an effect in our world, but sometimes Hashem chooses otherwise. In this case, then, in the spiritual worlds Yaakov had already corrected everything that had gone wrong since the Eitz Hadaas, and now he was trying to make that happen in the physical world too.
    – Meir
    Commented Mar 6 at 14:46
  • Thanks for the explanation. And what does it means that he had Moshiach ben Yosef/David?
    – Shmuel
    Commented Mar 6 at 17:50

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