For Yaakov, life is never simple. After being abused by his father-in-law Lavan, Yaakov finally makes a break, only to be chased down and confronted by Lavan. After they reach an understanding, Yaakov continues his journey home, but he must contend with his long-estranged brother Esav, who, last we heard, had sworn to kill him. As Yaakov heads toward what he imagines will be a vicious and blood-soaked showdown, he receives a report from his scouts that Esav is on his way to “greet” him, with a force of 400 men to back him up.
On the run from a furious brother who is plotting his demise, Yaakov finally falls to the ground in exhaustion and allows himself to sleep. His mind still racing, he wonders how the situation has spun so far out of control. Only yesterday, things had seemed perfect, even idyllic; only yesterday, he had been part of a family, but today tears and screams drown out all civil communication. They had managed to get along, despite their differences; but now – chaos. He had been put in an impossible situation. Should he respect his mother or his father? No child should ever be forced to make such a choice. There was no easy, clear solution: Obeying his mother meant deceiving his father. Honoring his father meant defying his mother. And then there was the matter of his brother, who wanted him dead.