4

The pasuk in Bereishis 29:11 says:

וַיִּשַּׁ֥ק יַעֲקֹ֖ב לְרָחֵ֑ל וַיִּשָּׂ֥א אֶת־קֹל֖וֹ וַיֵּֽבְךְּ׃ Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and broke into tears.

Rashi says on that pasuk:

...Another explanation is: he wept because he came with empty hands. He thought: Eliezer, my grandfather’s servant, had with him rings, bracelets and all good things, whilst I have nothing with me (Genesis Rabbah 70:12). This was because Eliphaz Esau’s son pursued Jacob by his father’s order to kill him, and overtook him. But because Eliphaz had been brought up on Isaac’s lap, (cp. Deuteronomy Rabbah 2:13) he withheld his hand. He said to him (Jacob), “But what shall I do as regards my father’s order?” Jacob replied, “Take all I have and you can say that I am dead for a poor man may be accounted as dead" (Nedarim 64b).

Assuming that Yaakov and Eliphaz's plan succeeded, Eisav would have been under the impression that Yaakov was dead. The Torah in Perek 32 speaks of Yaakov sending messengers to inform Eisav that he is moving to Canaan.

Did Eisav know that Yaakov was alive before the messengers were sent? If yes, when and how did Eisav find out that Yaakov was still alive?

7
  • 1
    Since the messengers returned and said that Eisav was coming with 400 men, some people have said (from memory) that Lavan let him know that Yaakov was on his way back. There is a possibility that Yitzchak and Rivkah knew that he was in the Yeshivah of Shem and Eiver, in which case Eisav might have treated him as dead to the world that he regarded as important. Probably Yitzchak and Rivkah were notified that he had married Rachel and Leah in the same way they knew that they had been born. Since I do not have sources, I am not making it an answer. – sabbahillel Dec 4 '17 at 13:26
  • The Sefer HaYahsar says that when Lavan got back from Gal Eid he told his son, Be'or and Avichoref the son of Anaf the son of Nachor to take 10 men and inform Eisav that Yaakov had treated Lavan very badly and was heading to Canaan. – Gavriel Dec 4 '17 at 15:12
  • 2
    I asked at shiur and was told that the Medrash Rabah says that Eliphaz told his father the full story and that Eisav accepted theAni kemais argument. Thus he knew all along that Yaakov was alive and with Laban. Lavan just let Eisav know when Yaakov left for Canaan – sabbahillel Dec 4 '17 at 16:06
  • @sabbahillel If you could find that, I'd be very happy... I did a search but nothing came up. – Gavriel Dec 5 '17 at 12:02
2

The Sefer HaYashar gives quite a descriptive account and notes that Eisav did find out quite soon after. He writes there:

ויעש אליפז כאשר ציוהו אביו, ואליפז בן שלוש עשרה שנה בעת ההיא. ויקם אליפז וילך ויקח עמו עשרה אנשים אחי אמו איתו, וירדוף אחרי יעקב. וידבק את יעקב ויארוב לו, בגבול ארץ כנען מול עיר שכם. וירא יעקב את אליפז רודף אחריו הוא ואנשיו, ויעמוד יעקב במקום אשר הלך בו לדעת מה זה כי לא ידע הדבר. וישלוף אליפז את חרבו וילך הלוך וקרב הוא ואנשיו, מול יעקב. ויאמר אליהם יעקב, מה לכם כי באתם עד הלום ומה תרדפו בחרבכם. ויקרב אליפז מול יעקב ויען ויאמר אליו כה וכה ציוה לי אבי ועתה לא אעבור על מצותו אשר צוני, וירא יעקב כי דיבר עשו חזקה אל אליפז בנו. ויגש יעקב ויתחנן לאליפז ולאנשים אשר איתו לאמור, הנה כל אשר לי ואשר נתנו לי אבי ואמי קח לך ולך מעליי ואל תמיתני והיה לך הדבר הזה איתי לצדקה. ויתן ה׳ את חן יעקב בעיני אליפז בן עשו ואנשיו, וישמעו בקול יעקב ולא המיתוהו. ויקחו אליפז ואנשיו את כל אשר ליעקב ואת הכסף ואת הזהב אשר הוציא עמו מבאר שבע, לא השאירו לו דבר. וילכו מעליו אליפז ואנשיו, וישובו בארה שבע אל עשו. ויגידו לו את כל אשר קרה להם עם יעקב, ויתנו לו את כל אשר לקחו מאת יעקב. ויקצוף עשו על אליפז בנו ועל האנשים אשר איתו, על אשר לא המיתו את יעקב. ויענו ויאמרו אל עשו כי התחנן לנו יעקב על הדבר הזה לבלתי המית אותו, ויכמרו רחמינו אליו וניקח את כל אשר לו ונבוא. ויקח עשו את כל הכסף ואת הזהב אשר לקח אליפז מיד יעקב, ויתנם בביתו.

‏And Eliphaz did as he was ordered by his father; and ‎Eliphaz was only thirteen years of age at that time. And Eliphaz arose and took along with him ‎ten of the brothers of his mother, and hurried after Jacob. And he kept close to Jacob, and he ‎lay in wait for him at the boundary of Canaan, opposite the city of Shechem. And when Jacob ‎saw Eliphaz and his men following him, Jacob halted in his way to ascertain what this meant, ‎for he knew nothing about it. But Eliphaz drew his sword and advanced towards Jacob with his ‎men. And Jacob said unto them: What is the cause of your coming hither, and for what reason ‎do you follow me with your naked swords? And Eliphaz approached him, saying: Thus hath my ‎father instructed me to do, and neither shall I depart from the orders which my father hath ‎given me. And when Jacob heard that Esau had spoken unto Eliphaz to use all his force, Jacob ‎came near unto them and entreated Eliphaz and his men, saying: Behold, here is all that I have, ‎and which was given me by my father and mother, take all this and leave me and do not kill ‎me, and may this deed be accounted unto thee a righteousness. And the Lord caused Jacob to ‎find favor in the eyes of Eliphaz and his men, and they listened to the voice of Jacob, and they ‎did not slay him. And Eliphaz and his men took away all that Jacob had, as also the silver and ‎gold that he had brought from Beersheba; they did not leave him the least thing. And Eliphaz ‎went away with his men, and they returned to Esau, to Beersheba, and they informed him of ‎all that had happened unto them with Jacob, and they delivered to him all that they had taken ‎from Jacob. And Esau was very wroth at Eliphaz, his son, and at the men that were with him, ‎for failing to slay Jacob. And they excused themselves, saying: Because Jacob entreated us not ‎to slay him, and our compassion was aroused in his behalf, hence we took of him all he had ‎and brought it unto thee. And Esau took all the silver and gold which Eliphaz had taken from ‎Jacob and stored it away in his house. (Sefaria translation)

So it is clear from the Sefer HaYashar that Esav was informed soon after Eliphaz's return and he was clearly far from happy about it!

1

According to Rabbi David Pinto Elifaz told Eisav when he returned from the mission that he did not kill Yaakov and that he took his possessions instead.

יש להתבונן, מה עשה עשו כשחזר אליו אליפז ואמר לו – שלא מלא את מבוקשו במדויק, שלא הרג את יעקב, אלא רק לקח את כל כספו. האם עשו היה מרוצה מזה והסתפק בכך, או שעדיין רצה להרוג את יעקב. ונראה, שבאמת לא היה אכפת לעשו שלא הרג אליפז את יעקב, כי עיקר רצונו היה להפריע ליעקב ללמוד תורה ולעבוד את ה'. לכן כששמע עשו שאליפז לא הרג את יעקב, ורק לקח את כל כספו – זה לא הפריע לו, אלא אדרבה הוא שמח, כי חשב שכעת – כשאין ליעקב כסף, הוא לא יוכל ללמוד, ואז ודאי וברי שייפול ממדרגתו הרוחנית אצל לבן הרשע.

1
  • 1
    I was told at shiur that this is originally from the Medrash Rabba – sabbahillel Dec 4 '17 at 16:07

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .