By HaRav Dov Begon
Rosh HaYeshiva, Machon Meir
Jacob attempts to flee from Esau, and he does indeed succeed in smuggling out his family across the Jabbok River. Yet he remains behind and confronts Esau’s angelic prince:
“A stranger appeared and wrestled with him.... When the stranger saw that he could not defeat him, he touched the upper joint of Jacob’s thigh. Jacob’s hip joint became dislocated as he wrestled with the stranger.... He was limping because of his thigh” (Genesis 32:25-26,32).
Rashbam explains that Jacob was punished and smitten and acquired a limp because he fled rather than trusting G-d’s promise to protect him and make him defeat Esau. We find the same with all those who diverge from G-d’s path and with those who refuse to accept the missions G-d assigns them. All are punished (Rashbam, Genesis 32:29).
Today, we must learn a lesson from Jacob’s flight and his subsequent limp. Wherever the Jewish People retreat and flee, G-d forbid, everyone can seem them limping. Precisely today, when we are facing a difficult test, when our enemies are attacking us in order to banish us from our land, we must become stronger of spirit. We must know and believe that we are fighting a just war over the land of our ancestors. Only through the Jewish People’s having control over their land will G-d’s name be sanctified for all to see. Then we will be able to spread benevolence and illuminate the whole world, all mankind, with the timeless and divine values of peace, justice, love and truth.
Our enemies’ whole goal is to take control over Eretz Yisrael, and thereby to bring ethical and spiritual darkness to the world. May it never be! In King David’s time, when Aram was attacking Israel from both front and back (II Samuel 10:9), Joab, the head of King David’s army encouraged the soldiers of Israel with the words, “Let us be strong and of good courage for our people and for the cities of our G-d, and the L-rd will do that which seems good in His eyes” (v. 12). Let us too be strong and of good courage, and then we will defeat our enemies and cease our limping.
Looking forward to salvation,