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הקל קול יעקב והידים ידי עשו

The voice is Yaakov’s voice, but the hands are Eisav’s hands. (27:22)

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Chazal derive from the above pasuk that when the voice of Yaakov Avinu prevails – when Torah is studied and his descendants are engaged in prayer – the murderous hands of Eisav have no power against us. When we slack off and weaken our vocal power, Eisav and his minions are strengthened.  When we read the pasuk, however, the implication is different. It almost appears as if Yaakov lives by his voice and Eisav by his hands – and there is no counterbalance, such that one rises and the other falls. Furthermore, the word kol (ha’kol) the voice, is written chaser, missing the vov, almost as if this is a weakened, less-than-vigorous voice. The next kol (ha’kol kol Yaakov) is written full, with the vov. Is the Torah implying something by varying the spelling?

The Maor Va’Shemesh explains that our vocal power has gradations that are based upon the surrounding kedushah and taharah, sanctity and purity, that are infused in and around our learning and davening. There is learning and there is learning with passion, or, as we might call it, bidechilu u’rechimu, with fear and love, with pure concentration and complete devotion. In the latter case, the mind is free of all extraneous thoughts, such that one knows that he is standing before the Almighty. His service is not a burden that he will cast off as soon as he quickly concludes his recitation. It is a labor of love. Such vocal power destroys the forces unleashed by Eisav’s hands. When the voice of Yaakov is complete (with the vov) then the hands of Eisav are no match for it. In contrast, when the Kol Yaakov is lacking – missing the vov, weak, insipid, dispassionate, sans yiraas Shomayim, fear of the Almighty, its power is inadequate to vanquish the power of Eisav’s hands.

The pasuk has a dual meaning: when the kol is missing/weak, the hands of Eisav are powerful; when the kol is full and strong, then Eisav’s hands will not hurt us.

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