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Subtle but Deadly

By: Rav Jason Knapel

Here is an idea from this week that I heard many years ago:

Rabbi Yehuda Hanasi would learn this weeks Parsha every time he had negotiations with someone from outside the Jewish World (we are talking governmentt leaders such as a Romans) because in this Parsha we have the historic battle between good and evil or Yaakov and Esav. It's interesting to note that Esav comes with four hundred men – a rather large number to overpower Yaakov and his eleven sons, not all of whom were full grown. Esav was no slouch of a fighter as we see from his development. Why so many? It may have been in order to overwhelm and if need be wipe out Yaakov. This is one method that the Esav's of the world use against Bnei Yisrael and we have seen the results of the destruction (Hitler used a whole war machine against the tiny Jewish people). But we also see a second idea; when he meets Yaakov in the end he does not apply force rather he hugs him. The hug is telling. If he could not destroy Yaakov and Bnei Yisrael through arms he would apply the other method – by keeping him close, by making him a friend, by loving him so that he assimilates from Yaakov into something else. We see this might be the reason why Esav wants Yaakov to accompany him as he leaves and why Yaakov gets out of it in such a flimsy way – he realized that this wasn’t a kind offer but another attack against him, more subtle but just as deadly.

We have seen this approach as well and none better than in modern society where once the enlightenment happened the Jews were welcomed with open arms as long as they did not stand apart. This method has been more affective than the first one as we are in the process of losing millions of Jews within the next two generations without a single bullet being fired.

Something to think about…

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Knapel





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