Join our weekly Peninim on the Torah list!

[et_bloom_inline optin_id="optin_1"]

ויצא הראשון אדמוני... ויקראו שמו עשו. ואחרי כן יצא אחיו וידו אחזת בעקב עשו ויקרא שמו יעקב

The first one emerged red… so they named him Eisav. After that, his brother emerged with his hand grasping onto the heel of Eisav so he called his name Yaakov. (25: 25, 26)

Download PDF

Is there an end to the misery that has been inflicted upon us by the descendants of Eisav? While it appears that in the present era our primary national adversity comes from the minions of Yishmael, we may never forget the terror and persecution that have been orchestrated against us throughout history by Eisav’s children, particularly those who maintain the strong tendencies of Amalek. Horav Yaakov Moshe Charlap, zl, observes that, even when Eisav (or his descendants) exhibit themselves as being “first” and stronger, Yaakov still grasps his heel. This implies that Eisav’s rule has limits. Yaakov will hold on for dear life, but he will hold on and not permit Eisav to go beyond what is Heavenly-permitted. It is very much like a dog that is chained to a post. The dog will run and growl, bark and paw at anything in his reach, but it will never get beyond what is allowed by the length of the chain.

Eisav’s domination over Yaakov, his iron anti-Semitic grip, will only go so far. Eisav has limits. He cannot break the chain. I think that there is one stipulation to this: we must act like Yaakov. Yaakov Avinu is symbolized by his affinity to Torah and emes, truth. This is our Patriarch’s persona: Torah study and a strong adherence to integrity, an abhorrence of any semblance of falsehood. The mantle of being called Yaakov’s descendants is accompanied by the responsibility of living up to this honor. A chain that is “rusted” will not have the power to contain the dog.