Vayishlach: Chapter 3

The prayers of the righteous


The rabbis teach us that the combined prayers of the righteous are more powerful than those of any individual. Although Jacob was spiritually complete - he embodied all three Columns - he was afraid of Esau because he did not consider himself worthy of a miracle, and because he wished to reserve his merits for the benefit of his descendants. Thus, Jacob fulfills and reinforces the verse, "Happy is the man who fears always ..."

After Rabbi Shimon describes Jacob's role as the firmest support among the Patriarchs who sustain the world, he turns to the subject of the years which Jacob, Joseph, and Abraham conceded to King David. David, we learn, had no life portion of his own because he, like Isaac, was of the side of darkness. Rabbi Yosi then discourses on the models for prayer supplied by both David and Jacob. Prayer, we learn, is divisible into two parts, corresponding to the lower grade of Malchut, and the higher, inner grade of Binah.


Our prayers receive the assistance of the righteous by virtue of this passage, so that our spiritual requests reach the highest realm of the Upper Worlds. Humility before the Light of The Creator is also awakened within us, further supporting our prayers. Finally, the wisdom of David and Jacob, and their insights into the divine structure of prayer, provide our own prayers with additional power and guidance to ensure that they reach their proper destination.