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KMTT - the Torah Podcast

Nov 30, 2023

Vayishlach | An Embrace, A Kiss and Those Mysterious Masoretic Dots, by Rav Yitzchak Etshalom

Yaakov's long-awaited and long-feared reunion with his brother, Esav, proves to be joyous, welcoming and ultimately, Yaakov's trepidation was proved to be baseless. When the two formerly competitive siblings finally see each other after decades of separation, Esav "falls on his neck, kisses him and they weep." The word וישקהו ("he kisses him") is directed by the Masorah to be dotted and every Sefer Torah has a dot over each of those six letters. We explore the phenomenon of "dotted words", surveying the literature and the various explanations for the seemingly random dotted words. We then look at the particular use of the dots in this instance and suggest a far-reaching implication that the dots may carry, one which gives us a fresh and more charitable perspective on Esav's feelings towards his brother during these long years of separation.

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