Parsha Overview: Vayishlach – Yaakov, Eisav & more

This is a basic overview of the continuation of Yaakov’s story in a very traditional “Q&A” format, which can be easily reworked for young kids of any age. Answers in brackets are the usual or traditional answers, but be open to anything your child might have to say.  Adapted from the Vayishlach pages of Parsha Pages for Sefer Bereishis.


 Yaakov was finally on his way back to eretz Canaan…

imageWho did he send ahead? (malachim, angels)

The malachim came back with some scary news… (Eisav is coming to fight!)

How many men did Eisav have with him?  (400 – that’s a LOT)

How did Yaakov feel when he found out?  (frightened! – wouldn’t you?)


Yaakov did three things to get ready to meet Eisav.


1.       He davened to… (Hashem)

2.       He sent … (presents to Eisav)

3.       He got ready … (for war)

How can we learn from Eisav?  (when we’re scared or worried, we should daven – and get ready)


Yaakov and his family crossed the stream at night to get to where Eisav was.


Why did Yaakov go back to the other side by himself?  (to collect small bottles he’d left there)

What can we learn from Yaakov?  (a tzaddik is always careful about his things)

While Yaakov was alone, he met someone… (the malach of Eisav)


image Yaakov and the malach wrestled, alone, at night.


Did anybody get hurt?  (Yaakov got hurt – on his thigh)

Yaakov asked for a bracha, and got a new… (name, Yisrael)

Who else in the Torah got a new name?  (Sara, Avraham, Yehoshuah, others…)


In the morning, it was time for Yaakov to meet with Eisav.


What did Eisav do when he saw Yaakov?  (hugged and kissed him – how lovely!)

Did he really mean it?  (no,  he did not!)

Did Yaakov go back to live near Eisav?  (no, he did not!)

Why did he stay separately?  (because he wanted his family to be tzaddikim, not like Eisav!)


Some bad people came from the city of Shechem!


Who did they take away from Yaakov’s family?  (they took Dina)

What did the prince want to do?  (to marry her)

Did Yaakov let him marry Dina?  (no, he did not!)

Who went to get Dina back?  (her big brothers – Shimon and Levi)


Yaakov already had 11 sons, but there was still one more to come…


image Which wife had one last baby for Yaakov?  (Rachel)

What was his name?  (Binyamin)

What happened to Rachel after that?  (she died)

Where was she buried?  (Kever Rachel – and we still know where it is today!)


רחל אימנו שאי קולך, שוב שפכי דמעה לפני קונך,

בזכותך ושבו בנים לגבולם.

Rachel our mother, raise your voice, pour out your tears again before your Maker…

in your merit, may your children return from their exile.


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