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Falling and Rising Up Again!

Updated: Dec 11, 2022

By Angelique Sijbolts

For December 6, 2022

Vayishlach 3rd Portion - Genesis 33:3

וְה֖וּא עָבַ֣ר לִפְנֵיהֶ֑ם וַיִּשְׁתַּ֤חוּ אַ֙רְצָה֙ שֶׁ֣בַע פְּעָמִ֔ים עַד־גִּשְׁתּ֖וֹ עַד־אָחִֽיו׃

"He himself went on ahead and bowed low to the ground seven times until he was near his brother."

When Jacob and Esau were to meet again after a long time, an encounter that had given Jacob the requisite headache, he bowed 7 times to Esau. We see that Esau then runs to him and kisses him. [there are opinions that say it was to bite him, but I will leave those aside here]. What can we learn Noahides from Jacob's 7 bows. Because the number 7 obviously jumps out at us in this part of the story.

For that, we go back to Isaac blessing he's son.

The name Isaac contains eight elements of godliness. Why can we learn this from the numerical value of his name. יצחק = 10+ 90+ 8+100 = 208, which is equal to 8x26 [26 the numerical value of G-ds name, the tetragrammaton].

When he blessed his sons, Isaac gives 7 to Jacob and 1 to Esau.

Jacob's name contains 7 elements of godliness. יעקב = 10+70+100+2= 182 [7x26].

Esau's name contains 1 element of godliness. עשו = 70+300+6= 376 [26+ 350].

The number 350 represents 7x the word unclean טמא = 9+40+1= 50

Each of us has a Jacob and an Esau in our hearts. One wants to observe the 7 Laws and their details and the other does not. Every time we err and fail to observe 1 of the 7 we fall down to earth, as it were, we bow to the Esau in our hearts.

However, this should not worry us because it is said by the Rabbeinu Bahya:

"The reason the Torah here mentions the number seven is to remind us that when a righteous person falls down even seven times, he will rise again and regain his composure (compare Proverbs 24,16)."

When we sincerely try to observe the 7 Laws and their details and are willing to do so because God gave them to Moses at Sinai, we are called pious of the nations. Every time we fall, we get back up and try again.

Although Esau has 7 elements of impurity, and will not keep the 7 Laws, yet there is also 1 Divine element in him. This can teach us that no matter how far a person strayed from G-d and how much he has lived a selfish life, without G-d and commandment, every person, always has a spark in him that can make him turn to G-d.

Then he runs to Jacob, to learn to keep the 7 Laws. Then the non-Jew runs to Israel, to the Jew, to learn.

Brought By Angelique Sijbolts


Angelique Sijbolts is one of the main writers for the Noahide Academy. She has been an observant Noahide for many years. She studies Torah with Rabbi Perets every week. Angelique invests much of her time in editing video-lectures for the Rabbis of the Academy and contributes in administrating the Academy's website in English and Dutch. She lives in the north of the Netherlands. Married and mother of two sons. She works as a teacher in a school with students with special needs. And is a Hebrew Teacher for the levels beginners and intermediate. She likes to walk, to read and play the piano.

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