From the Yeshiva of the Jewish Idea: Parshat Vayishlach
YESHIVAT HARA'AYON HAYEHUDI
HaRav Yehuda Kroizer SHLIT"A, Rosh Yeshiva
16 Kislev, 5766/16-17 December, 2005
TIME TO SHED THE SKIN OF JACOB
Today’s headline appearing in the Israeli newspapers stated that America is demanding from Israel to open up the free travel route from Gaza to the West Bank, agreed upon from last month's meeting with Secretary of State Rice, enabling Arabs to travel the roads at will. This came just a day after Defense Minister Mofaz stated that Israel will not open the route because of continuous Arab terror that has gone unchecked. The European Union added its voice with a strong condemnation of Israel for even bringing up the idea of not allowing the Arabs free access to the roads.
And why not? America's foreign policy has always been and should always be what is best for the U.S., as any normal nation's policy should be what is best for itself. With oil and other concerns their number-one priority, leaving behind Israel’s security was a non-issue for them. Israel, though, should have its own agenda as to what is best for it and its people, regardless of whether or not it fits into U.S. policy, as would be the case in any normal country.
Still, when all is said and done, Israel will do as directed by the U.S. - even though this will mean freedom to roam for Arab terrorists who will build an infrastructure of terror in Yehuda and Shomron, which will bring disaster, death and destruction to the Jewish people.
In this week's parsha we read about the historical meeting between Jacob and Esau. "Jacob raised his eyes and saw and behold, Esau was coming. . . and he went ahead of them and bowed down seven times until he reached his brother." Time and time again, Jacob went overboard with flattery for brother Esau: "And I have seen your face, which is like seeing the face of a Divine being." The acts of the fathers are signs to the children, and with Jacob's acts he sets the stage for our long and bitter exile of 2000 years that, without the path that Jacob paved for us, we would surely not have been able to survive. For Jacob instilled in us the strength to make it through that long night of exile.
Still, there are many commentaries, amongst them the Ramban (Nachmanides) who maintained that Jacob was in error and that through his acts of overflattery of Esau, he condemned the Jewish people to fall by the hand of the Romans in the time of the Second Temple. Also, our Rabbis teach us that because Jacob bowed down to Esau 7 times, 7 foreign kings would rule over the Land of Israel, before the kings of Israel.
"And Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until the break of dawn,... Your name will not be called Jacob any more but Israel, for you have striven with the Divine and with men and you have overcome." Jacob's
striving with the ministering angel of Esau takes place at the break of dawn, after the long and dark exile. It is at this point that Jacob is able to overcome the evil of Esau as the dawn breaks into a new day. So, too, his children, the children of Israel, who today have returned to the Promised Land and are at the dawn of the Redemption, after the long exile of 2000 years. Try as the Esaus of today might, they cannot overcome us either, nor stop the Redemption process. And as the dust settles over the Land, they will also concede to us the blessings that were given to us as the rightful owners.
It is time to shed the skin of Jacob and the exile, and take the name "Israel", the one who can overcome Esau and all who follow in his path. It is time that we put our own policies and our own agenda first and foremost, for we have striven both with the Divine and also with men, and have overcome. It is time to act like the people of ISRAEL!
With love of Israel,
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