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December 11, 2016 / conservadox

Dvar Torah-Vayishlach

This coming week’s Parsha begins “Jacob sent messengers ahead of him to his brother Esau” (Gen. 32:4) and adds that the messengers returned to Jacob with the news that his brother is heading towards him with 400 men- news that makes Jacob a bit worried to say the least.

Miller, citing Rashi and an 18th c. Hasidic sage, writes that the messengers were angels, states that the “angels failed in their mission to appease Esau.  From here we can learn that all attempts to reconcile a dispute in person need to be made in person, not through messengers or representatives.”

I’ve had some interpersonal conflicts recently, mostly due to my own carelessness.  In dealing with friends and family, messengers are obviously impractical.  But I have struggled with how direct my attempt should be.  If I can’t meet the other person to discuss the problem, do I need the phone?  Or is an email or even a text message appropriate?

There is no all-purposes right answer.  The telephone is the most personal form of contact; on the other hand, it is harder to be precise orally than in writing, and I sometimes find that I have difficulty paying attention or understanding other people’s words during a phone call.  Writing allows you to compose your thoughts and state your position more clearly, thus reducing the possibility of misunderstanding.  On the other hand, it does seem more impersonal.


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