This week we read one of the most beautiful and moving moments in the Torah; the reunion of Jacob and his estranged brother Esau. The last time the two were together Jacob feared for his life from the brother he had deceived and wronged. Now, after many years and much growth and change on the part of both, they meet again. The Torah describes the meeting: “Esau ran to greet him (Jacob), he embraced him and falling on his neck, he kissed him and they wept” (Gen 33:4).
I imagine Esau burying his head against his brother, clinging to him, joining together as they had in the womb of their mother and weeping tears of joy and sorrow, ecstasy and sadness. All the hurt and pain of the years that have passed, all the losses and grief that each have carried with them are shed in the salty tears which streak their cheeks and mingle together. And finally they are at peace. A cover of shalom descends upon them and touches them with its warmth and embrace. In those moments there is shalom, there is wholeness. Twins, two parts of one whole meet and embrace once more, balance and harmony are restored.
In our world today, when each news bulletin seems to bring more tales of horror and terror, brokenness, shattered hopes and dreams, a lack of wholeness, this portion reminds us to have hope. Peace can be made between warring partners, relationships can be repaired, the world can be mended, shalom, peace and wholeness can be restored. We cannot give up hope. Our parashah calls upon us to keep our eyes open in the world to the possibilities before us. To see the signs of goodness, beauty, opportunities for forgiveness and reconciliation. Jacob and Esau see the goodness in one another, they remember the ties of family, the importance of peace, of seeing how they are alike and not how they are different. May this Shabbat remind us to look for those things in our world too: to see how we are alike, to find the beauty in one another, to remember that we are all one human family and may we, like Jacob and Esau, soon have shalom, peace and wholeness in our families, our communities, our relationships and our world.