“And the sun rose for [Yaakov], […] and he was limping on his thigh” (Bereishis 32:32).
The night before reuniting with his long-estranged brother Esav, Yaakov Avinu wrestled with an angel, which left him limping.
For the Ohel Moshe, this episode teaches us an important lesson about the challenges of exile.
A Leg to Stand On
All night Yaakov grappled with the angel of Esav, and though the latter managed to dislocate Yaakov’s hip (ibid. 32:26), he remained oblivious to his injury. He could only marvel, “
Maaseh avos siman labanim – everything that happened to the Avos is destined to happen to their progeny as well. Just as Esav struck Yaakov all night but never permanently disabled him, our enemies have attacked us throughout our protracted galus, but persecution has never weakened our commitment to Hashem. On the contrary, the more we’ve suffered, the stronger our faith has become.
Yet just as Yaakov began limping at sunrise, whenever “the sun has shone on us” in exile, and we’ve begun to prosper, we’ve lost our footing.
As the descendants of Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov, we represent their “legs,” continuing to walk the Torah path they marked out for us. But when we get too comfortable and complacent in the Diaspora, those legs buckle.
Best Foot Forward
Despite the many “detours” beckoning to us in our current, relatively benign exile, may we remain on course, standing firm in our commitment to Torah and mitzvos. May we not need to relearn Yaakov’s painful lesson.
Question for Discussion
Throughout our exile, we’ve paid the price of prosperity, succumbing to assimilation. What is one negative influence of secular society you have experienced during our current galus?