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“Therefore, until this day, the Bnei Yisrael do not eat the sinew of the thigh vein.” (32:33)

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Yaakov’s struggle with Eisav’s angel is memorialized in halacha by the prohibition against the consumption of the muscle injured in this struggle. The commentaries state a number of reasons as rationales for this mitzvah. These serve to guide Jewish survival during our exile. Horav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch Z”l notes the symbolic value of this injury. He points out that Yaakov’s physical injury represents for Eisav the real power that makes Yaakov invincible. Indeed, Yaakov’s descendants realize that their existence is not dependent upon the presence or absence of the thigh muscle. If Yaakov falters, it is not due to a lack of physical prowess or material assets, but rather he has not been deserving of Hashem’s Divine protection. We must be constantly cognizant that if Jewry stands firm without wavering, it does so, not because of its physical fortitude. Rather, our fortitude is a result of our spiritual essence which has merited Hashem’s protection throughout history.

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