Monday, December 12, 2011

no escape

It seems that the malach who attacked Ya'akov in P' VaYishlach did so as he was completing the process of transferring his family across the Yabok river.  Rashbam explains that Ya'akov's plan was to flee from Eisav.  He first ferried his family out of danger and then was going to flee across the river himself.  However, the malach interrupted those plans.  Hashem did not want Ya'akov to flee; Hashem wanted to demonstrate that his promise of protection would be fulfilled.  Chizkuni goes a step further and adds that the reason Ya'akov got a patch on his leg was precisely because he was trying to run.  When Hashem gives you a mission, you can't run away.

Even though Chazal are critical of Ya'akov for having sought out Eisav and his having sent messengers to him, and even though Ya'akov was fearful that his zechuyos would not be enough for him to escape unharmed from an encounter with Eisav, Rav Gifter writes that we learn from these sources that once Ya'akov made the decision to invite the encounter, backing out and fleeing was wrong.  To avoid waking the sleeping giant of Eisav does not prove any lack of bitachon.  However, once events that encounter has been precipiated, fleeing at that point shows a lack of trust in Hashem.


  1. Anonymous12:33 AM

    >>> no escape

    but wait: the malach grabs Ya'akov
    by the heel (later by the waist etc.) so that baby brother can't make good his getaway, but
    at alos hashachar it's Ya'akov
    who won't let the the malach go--
    that's not only an "escape" (1 point, Ya'akov "Israel" Avinu, NCAA
    rules), but a "reversal" (worth 2)!

    seems the metaphysics here get as
    convoluted as the cosmic bodies in
    a struggling heap, that by
    commotion's end Ya'akov is able to dust himself off just in time to shoot two brachos from the hip (b'kaf y'reicho...
    kaf yerech, 32:26)--
    1) baruch Atah Hashem...zokeif
    k'fufeme! ("Who straightens the bent", Artscroll, Who straightens
    those bent on escape, Chizkuni), &
    2) baruch Atah Hashem...ozeir
    Yisrael bee'gvurah!!

  2. Anonymous4:01 PM

    >>> um what[??]

    "baby brother" = Ya'akov vis-a-vis
    "NCAA" = Nat'l. Collegiate Athletic
    Asso., as to their scoring of wrestling manoeuvers;
    "get" = gets;
    "cosmic bodies" = the bodies of the
    angel/ish & Ya'akov, each invested
    by our context w/ 'cosmic' significance;
    "b'kaf...kaf" = needless play off
    the idiom 'shoot from the hip', for
    added spice
    (not to worry sb, the comment-in-
    question is probably no more than a short stream of syllables soon due to drown in the great sea of worldwide words...)

  3. Anonymous9:13 PM

    why doesn't the malach use a
    blocking tactic--like that used
    opposite Bilam's donkey--to prevent flight? why tackle Ya'akov?

    >Ya'akov is caught in the grip of a primitive fear; midah
    k'negged midah, the angel grips Ya'akov in a primitive way;

    >the angel reflects the reputed operating mode of Eisav (who arguably is owed an encounter with his escapist brother)-- force first, all other means later (if at all)...

  4. Anonymous3:58 PM

    OTOH, in defense of "b'kaf yereicho
    kaf yerech" (of comment 1 above, after chiding in comment 3),
    the gematria of those words = 668 =
    "mekroa al-birkav" (Kings I, 8:54); there Shlomo rises
    "from kneeling on his knees" (trans. mechon-mamre), a commom wrestling position, with the palms of his hands (kapav, rather than socket/socket of his hip) toward
    shamayim, to conclude the dedication (va'yachn'chu 8:63, as in chanukah!) of the 1st beis
    hamikdash (a rather elaborate
    extension of the matzeivah of Ya'akov in beit-el, 28:22)-- in
    effect, Ya'akov rose alone* from his wrestle to offer** brachos alos hashachar, & with Shlomo, after the latter's tefilla from the dust, to bless Hashem 8:56...

    *but also Shlomo with him
    **so he didn't 'shoot from the hip'--as did the commentor above-- but with his hands well-raised in
    the air