1. Prior to their reunion after more than twenty years, Yaakov suspects the worst of his brother Eisav. Although many Midrashim view Eisav in a negative light, the text of the Humash suggests that he was a perfect gentleman and downright brotherly in the encounter. How do we balance our fear of potential adversaries with the possibility of having a positive impact on the world? Should we seclude ourselves from interaction to maintain maximum safety, both physically and spiritually, or risk the encounter for the possibility of a mutually enriching relationship?

  2. Following the decimation of the city of Shechem by Shimon and Levi there is a debate between them and Yaakov. Yaakov, the statesman, was outraged by their actions while they, as idealistic activists, defended it. Similar debates have been held throughout history between young idealists and seasoned diplomats, sometimes resulting in important and successful social revolutions and other times resulting in disaster. How does one judge the "correctness" of a revolutionary movement?



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