THE SAGES OF MUSSAR ON THE PARSHA
Eisev was approaching Yaacov with four hundred men. He was bent on killing Yaacov, who had purchased Eisev’s birthright for a bowl of lentils. Eisev was seething with anger while waiting for over twenty years for Yaacov to return to Israel. Now the moment of vengeance had arrived. It would seem impossible to diffuse such an explosive confrontation.
Yaacov sent messengers to Eisev who conveyed Yaacov’s words to his brother, “I dwelt with Lavan and have been delayed there until now.” These words had a powerful effect on Eisev. By the time that Yaacov arrives, Eisev’s anger was released and his heart filled with brotherly love. What wisdom did Yaacov employ in order to win his brother’s favor?
In fact, Yaacov understood that the very essence of successful interpersonal relationships is sharing with another person. Specifically, to reveal to your fellow what is happening in your personal life. Accordingly, while a conversation about the weather or the latest development in technology could be interesting and enjoyable – it is not intimate. You might have impressed your friend with your intelligence, but you haven’t taught him anything about yourself.
Yaacov knew the language of the heart. Therefore, his first words to Eisev communicated his life experiences – both good and bad – that he had encountered during the past twenty years. This personal approach taken by Yaacov found the soft spot in Eisev’s heart. Subsequently, when Yaacov sent gifts to his brother, Eisev feelings where already opened and he responded positively to Yaacov’s offering.
May we create meaningful relationships with our family and friends by sharing some of ourselves with them. Consequently, we will be blessed warm and trusting relationships.
(Based on the commentary of the Ohr HaChaim on the Chumash)
Today: Make a note of one or two personal experiences that you had during the course of the day and share them with family or friend.