Jacob is finally going to come back to his place of birth, the land of Israel. But it is not going to be easy! "The Holy One Blessed Be He gave three good gifts to Israel, and all of them He did not give except through affliction, and they are: Torah, and the Land Of Israel, and the World To Come"(Berachot 5A). And what happened to Jacob is a sign for his progeny:
And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.Who was the man that wrestled with Jacob? Rashi says:
Our Rabbis explained (Gen. Rabbah 77:3, 78:3) that this was the prince (guardian angel) of Esau.Esau tried to prevent Jacob from returning to his homeland ,but he did not succeed:
And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was strained, as he wrestled with him. And he said: 'Let me go, for the day breaketh.' And he said: 'I will not let thee go, except thou bless me.' And he said unto him: 'What is thy name?' And he said: 'Jacob.' And he said: 'Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel; for thou hast striven with God and with men, and hast prevailed.' And Jacob asked him, and said: 'Tell me, I pray thee, thy name.' And he said: 'Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name?' And he blessed him there. And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: 'for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.' And the sun rose upon him as he passed over Peniel, and he limped upon his thigh.Yes, Esau did cause some damage, but God healed Jacob's limp:
And the sun rose for him: This is a common expression: When we arrived at such-and-such a place, the dawn broke for us. This is the simple explanation. The Midrashic Aggadah (Tanchuma Buber, Vayishlach 10; Gen. Rabbah 68:10) [explains]: And the sun rose for him-to heal his limp, as it is said: (Mal. 3:20): “the sun of mercy, with healing in its wings”; and those hours that it hastened to set for him when he left Beer-sheba, it hastened to rise for him.So it is today. The children of Esau are continually trying to prevent the return of the Jewish People to the land of Israel. They, like their forefather, succeed in injuring us. However, "There are many devices in a man's heart; but the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand." We are coming back, and nobody can stop us, for it has been foretold:
That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the peoples, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee. If any of thine that are dispersed be in the uttermost parts of heaven, from thence will the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will He fetch thee. And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and He will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers.Shabbat Shalom!
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