"Jacob was very frightened and distressed" (32:8). Hearing that his brother was approaching with an army of 400 men Yaakov was terrified and prepared for the worst. "If Eisav comes and defeats one camp at least the other camp will survive". Yaakov's fear seems misplaced. While Eisav, angered over his lost blessing, threatened to kill his brother, he had planned to carry out the threat only after his father's death; "the days of mourning for my father will be here soon and I will kill my brother Jacob" (27:41). Eisav assumed that the opportunity to kill Yaakov would arrive shortly after all Yitzchak decided top bless his son precisely because he was "old and I do not know (how soon) I will die" (27:2). However Yitzchak lived an additional 57 years so what was there to fear? Did Yaakov think Eisav would kill him while their father was still alive?
A simple reading of the Torah leaves one with the unmistakable impression that Yaakov did not even know whether his parents were still alive. There had been no contact all these years and Yaakov had every reason to suspect his father had died in the interim.
While Yitzchak understood that the Jewish people would carry on through Yaakov "You will become and assembly of nations; G-d will grant Abraham's blessing to you" (28:3-4) it is quite evident that on a personal father son level Yitzcahk and Yaakov were emotionally distant. "Isaac then sent Jacob on his way" is not just a physical good bye but encapsulates the distance between father and son. It was not easy for anyone to develop a close personal relationship with this tzadik one who came face to face with the angel of death at the akeidah . Perhaps only an Eisav could develop a close personal relationship with this special man only a person so devoid of religious feeling would not be in awe of Yitzchak.
Besides not knowing whether his father had died Yaakov had an additional reason for fear. Rivka fearful for her children instructed Yaakov to flee "until your brother's anger has subsided" (27:44). No doubt Rivka and Yaakov assumed it would not be long before the time comes "when your brother has calmed down from his rage against you I will send word and summon you home" (27:45). Yet many years had passed and there was no word from Rivka. The anger of our enemies seems to never subside over time.
Unfortunately there would at least as far as the Biblical text is concerned no other word between Mother and son. Perhaps even sadder than Yaakov being distant from his father is the apparent strain on the relationship between Yaakov and his mother. "And Rivka loved Yaakov" (25:28). That love and trust was so great that Yaakov, however reluctantly, listened to his mother in the scheme to show Yitzchak how easily fooled he had been by Eisav and thus should give the blessings to Yaakov. Yaakov who our sages describe as the personification of the trait of emet , truth, while understanding the need for such a request was deeply troubled by it. After acceding to his mother's wishes he had to run for his life and as far as we can tell never sees his mother again. While Yaakov does have the merit of at least burying his father Rivka is buried anonymously. In fact her death is not even recorded in the Torah. Yaakov truly leaves home for good.
While blessed with many children and despite being the father of " Bnei Yisroel" the image of Yaakov that comes to mind is of dwelling alone, distant both form his parents and children. His four eldest children gave him at different times much grief, he mourned for Joseph for many years all without a wife beside him. The fate of Jacob can be summed up in the verse "Jacob remained alone. A stranger wrestled with him until dawn" (32:25).
We the bnei Yisroel have unfortunately had to emulate Yaakov much too much throughout our history. Fleeing from our enemies' families were torn apart. But despite the difficulties he saw that he could not defeat him (32:25). The Jewish people may be alone but we are victorious bringing the message of truth and justice to all who may listen. Shabbat Shalom!