We know that the essence and essential message of the Torah portions are usually concealed in their first word or words and this week’s portion Vayishlach, meaning “To send away” is no different. In this portion Jacob is about to face his hated brother, Esau, the precursor to Edom (Christianity). But first he wrestles all night with a dark angel in the river Yabok and in overcoming him, he asks him for a blessing and instead the angel first rewards him with a new name. He goes on to win over his brother.
The numerical value of Vayishlach (VYShLCh) is 354 and if we add 5 for the kolel of the 5 letters, we get 354 + 5 = 359, the value of Satan, a bible code word for our evil inclination, in other words our selfish personal desires.
The second word in the portion is Yacov, Jacob of numerical value 182 and if we add the two, we get 359 + 182 = 541, the numerical value of Israel. And what makes this so significant is that the name the dark angel gave Jacob standing their in the river Yabok, was Israel and since Israel has a value of 541 it is a composite of Jacob 182 and 359, Satan. 182 + 359 = 541.
And what this means is that what Jacob wrestled with that whole night was his evil inclination, his selfish desires and within those were his fears because when we fear we are fearing what we have to give up and not seeing that what we have and what we are facing is from G-d, Hashem, the Light.
When Jacob finally overcame Satan, his own weaknesses, Jacob asked him for a blessing, but before he was given one, he was given a new name, and in so doing, as we saw in the equation 182 + 359 = 541, Satan revealed his name to him, which is why when Jacob then asked him what the angel’s name was, he replied, “Why do you ask my name.” That was for us, so we’d ask it of ourselves, and so we could know who our adversary really was.
Now if we consider the ordinal values of the two names that Jacob now has, 47 for Jacob and 64 for Israel, we see that there is a difference of (64 – 47) = 17, the numerical value for tov, good, as in “the light is good.” So besides knowing that this name change was a good thing, when we add the 17 to the 359 for the complete difference between the two, we get (17 + 359) = 376, the numerical value for peace (shalom).
It’s also the numerical value for Esau, which completes the message to us: If we can defeat our selfish desires and illusionary fears we can find peace, even with those that hate us. This is a message that resonates most of all today and in particularly for Israel that has wrestled with its fears and desires ever since receiving statehood 60 years ago. rather than concentrating on giving up land or swapping missiles and prisoners, we all as the nation of Israel should be working on defeating our selfishness and self-centered thinking, then peace will come. First it’s peace of mind, then peace on earth.
So, once again, the first word in the portion says it all. “Send it away.” If we can get rid of that darkness inside of us, peace will be at hand.
The name Israel (YShREL) was a good one as the Yud (Y) stands for Yacov, and Ytzak, and the Shin (Sh) for Sarah, and the Resh (R) for Rivka and Rachel, and the Alef (E) for Abraham and the Lamed, (L) for Leah, while 541 is the exact numerical value of the complete 12-gonal polygon that we know as the Star of David, the 12-sided Magen David (Shield of David) that represents the 12 tribes and Israel itself.
And since 359 is also the Aramaic numerical value for Mashiach, the Messiah, we know what the potential is and who will come once we overcome ourselves.