Saturday, November 20, 2010

Vayishlach - Diplomacy vs. Appeasement

An interesting point in Vayishlach follows from my earlier post about the difference bwetween malachim and avodim. Vayishlach starts with Yaakov sending malachim to Eisav. This leads to a machlokes about whether these are "real angels" or messengers. Later one, he sends bribes to Eisav. However, the people bringing these "gifts" to Eisav are described as "avodim". This shows that initially, he sends "people" who are capable of reacting intelligently to what they will find and will be able to use their knowledge of the principles being maintained to continue. When he attempts to appease Eisav, he sends avodim who know exactly what they are meant to do and will be unable to do anything other than deliver the gifts. In modern day politics, we se that people attempting to appease the villains and dictators of the world are making the mistake of sending avodim, who are incapable of independant action, when they should be sending malachim, who would know what is correct and be able to act properly.

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