I saw this dvar torah in a forum.

"וַיֵּאָבֵק אִישׁ עִמּוֹ" (לב/כה) פירש רש"י ז"ל : "הוא שרו של עשיו" שואלים: בפסוק הנאמר על יוסף "וַיִּמְצָאֵהוּ אִישׁ וְהִנֵּה תועֶה בַּשָּׂדֶה" (לז/טו) אומר רש"י שם, איש זה "גבריאל".

ומדוע רש"י פירש אצל יעקב ויאבק "איש" עמו זה שרו של עשיו? ואילו ביוסף פירש "איש" זה גבריאל?

אלא, התירוץ אצל יעקב לאחר המאבק שביקש ממנו ברכה, ענה המלאך: "שלחני" כי עלה השחר, וצריך אני לומר שירה. איש כזה בודאי שרו של עשיו: שאינו רוצה לחכות, ואינו רוצה לברך.

ואולם, אצל יוסף האיש שראה את יוסף תועה בשדה, הציע לו את מלוא עזרתו. איש כזה בודאי "גבריאל" אעפ"י שהיה צריך לומר שירה, בכ"ז מצא זמן לעזור ליוסף ודחה את שירתו, כדי לעזור למי שתועה בדרך.

(ר' לייב אב"ד באשב)

It suggests that the reason that the angel (described as a man אִישׁ) that fought with Yaacov was the heavenly prince of Eisav and the other angel that helped Yosef (also described as a man אִישׁ) was the angel Gavriel was because of their attitude to helping. The angel who went out of his way to help Yosef must have been Gavriel. When Yaakov wanted a blessing from the angel, he replied that he had to go and sing to HKB”H and had no time. He must have been the angel of Eisav.

That's very fine, but it appears from the pesukim that the request for a blessing was after the angel asked to go and sing to HKB”H.

32 (25) And Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until the break of dawn.

End of Rashi there: Our Rabbis explained (Gen. Rabbah 77:3, 78:3) that this was the prince (guardian angel) of Esau.

32 (27) And he (the angel) said, "Let me go, for dawn is breaking," but he (Jacob) said, "I will not let you go unless you have blessed me."

Rashi on “for dawn is breaking”: And I must recite a song [of praise] (Gen. Rabbah 78:1, Chullin 91a).

It is possible to justify the explanation of ר' לייב if (one component of) the subject of the wrestling was the granting of a blessing. Is there any evidence for this or a better explanation?

  • 3
    I note, that Rabbeinu Bachye (בא"ד ועל דרך השכל) indentifies the angel fighting with Yaakov, as Gavriel. This is also found in the Zohar (Bo, 41b). Nov 20, 2018 at 13:06
  • Can't be Gavriel, because Gavriel would have won. ;)
    – Nic
    Dec 16, 2019 at 13:29
  • Rashi does say (from Tanchuma) that the "man" who directed Yosef to his brothers was the malach Gavriel (Bereishis 37:15). Not sure what's up with that.
    – MichoelR
    Jan 8, 2021 at 15:53

1 Answer 1


user2016831 quoted the Medrash (in my text 78 (2)):

אָמַר שִׁיַּצְתָּ סִיַּבְתָּ, (בראשית לב, כז): לֹא אֲשַׁלֵּחֲךָ כִּי אִם בֵּרַכְתָּנִי, אָמַר לוֹ אוֹתָן הַמַּלְאָכִים שֶׁבָּאוּ אֵצֶל אַבְרָהָם לֹא פֵּרְשׁוּ מִמֶּנּוּ אֶלָּא בִּבְרָכָה. אָמַר לוֹ אוֹתָן נִשְׁתַּלְּחוּ עַל מְנָת כָּךְ, אֲבָל אֲנִי לֹא נִשְׁתַּלַּחְתִּי לְכָךְ. אָמַר לוֹ שִׁיַּצְתָּ סִיַּבְתָּ, לֹא אֲשַׁלֵּחֲךָ.

I have the Medrash Rabboh Hamevuar , which explains the medrash

The Malach asks to be released. Yaakov says שִׁיַּצְתָּ סִיַּבְתָּ "if you've finished your work, you can collect your reward and if you have not finished your work, you will not get reward.” And that's why Yaakov says “I won't send you until you have blessed me”.

It seems that Yaakov understood that the fact that the Malach requested permission to leave was evidence that it had not completed its mission and there was a blessing to be transmitted.

Thus although the possuk with the request for a blessing comes after the Malach requested permission to leave, Yaakov knew before he asked that there was a blessing to be given.

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