13 December 2019

Parshas Vayishlach – Longing For The Dawn

By Roy S. Neuberger

Two weeks ago we contemplated the epic struggle between Yaakov Avinu and Esav. I would like to focus on this more intently, because it concerns us both individually and nationally.

In Parshas Toldos we read about sunset: “[Yaakov Avinu] encountered the place and spent the night there because the sun had set…” (Beraishis 18:11) This week, the sun rises: “Yaakov was left alone and a man wrestled with him until the break of dawn.” (Beraishis 32:25) Last week, Yaakov Avinu was going into golus; this week, sunrise signals the end of golus.

The struggle between Yaakov and the malach of Esav lasts the entire night. This is understood to represent our long golus. It appears that this conflict will not end until Moshiach comes. (Midrash Rabbah 77:3; Rashi on Beraishis 32:25)

Is it possible to end this struggle early? 

We saw in Parshas Toldos how the outer struggle with Esav mirrors the inner struggle against the yetzer hara. With that in mind, please contemplate these remarkable words: “Strengthen yourself, my dear one, strengthen yourself, and envelope yourself with the fortitude to engross yourself in Torah…. With just a little more [effort], you will be able to come to grips with your yetzer hara. Then his defeat will be total, and he will no longer bother you. Just overcome him today, and he will be your faithful servant for all time.” (Letter from the Chazon Ish to a talmid, In the Shadow of the Great, page 33)

Perhaps we can, so to speak, make our own “sunrise.” And if we can make a “personal” sunrise and overcome the yetzer hara, can we then make a “national” sunrise and end golus now?

Yehoshua was able to alter the sun’s course, as it says, “Sun, stand still at Giv’on, and moon in the Valley of Ayalon.” (Yehoshua 10:12) 

King David says, “Awake, my soul … I shall awaken the dawn.” (Tehillim 57:8)

Can we awaken the dawn? After all, “The will of those who fear Him, He will do …” (Tehillim 145) Perhaps, if we want it enough, just as we usher in Shabbos early, perhaps we can usher in the sunrise of redemption.

It will not be easy. The world today is a swirling dust-storm which almost totally obscures the Light of Torah. As Chazal teach us concerning Yaakov’s struggle, “Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said … [in the course of their fighting] they raised dust unto the Throne of Glory ….” (Chullin 91a) But Yaakov never gives up! 

Nor can we! “I yearn for my Lord, among those longing for the dawn, those longing for the dawn. Let Israel hope for Hashem … for with Him is abundant redemption.” (Tehillim 130)

Why are the words “longing for the dawn” repeated? Even when hope seems lost, we must keep repeating these words and crying out to the Ribono shel Olam

Similarly we repeat:“ka’ve el Hashem … Hope to Hashem, strengthen yourself and He will give you courage, and hope to Hashem!” (Tehillim 27)

May we see the eternal sunrise soon in our days! 


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Roy Neuberger, author and public speaker, can be reached at roy@2020vision.co.il.

© Copyright 2019 by Roy S. Neuberger

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