Hashem asked Moshe Rabbeinu to have the camps of Bnei Yisrael in four flag formations. In Bamidbar Rabba 2,10 it states that this formation paralleled the Throne of Glory. “Just as Hashem created the four points of the compass, so did He surround His Throne with the likenesses of four celestial Beings, and so did He command Moshe to organize the camp of the Bnai Yisrael into four flag formations”. Each one of the flags had a distinctive picture on it. Altogether,  the four flags had depictions of a man, ox, eagle and a lion.  The Ibn Ezra writes that the four flags resembled the Divine Chariot of Hashem that was seen by the prophet Yechezkel in his vision (Yechezkel, 1), which also featured the images of a man, a lion, an ox and an eagle. We can now understand why on these four flags were also written the letters of our Avos. Since the Avos were also called the Merkavah the Chariot of Hashem (Bereishis 17,22 Rashi) they were the ones who merited their generations with the ability of the Flags in the formation of the Divine Chariot.

How did were the names of the three Avos written on four flags? The Yalkut Reuvaini brings that they were written such: one flag had the letters איי the acronym of אברהם יצחק יעקב, one had the second letters of their names  בצעwritten on it, the third had the third letters of their names on it רחק  and the fourth had the last letters of their names אברהם יצחק יעקב, the letters of  מקבwritten on it. In this manner all four flags covered the three Avos.

Although in the desert the flags were a symbol of the four formations of camps, the truth is that every Yid has his own flag as we say in the Zemiros of Shabbosאיש על מחנהו ואיש על דגלו. The Lashon Hakodesh of flagפלג  is to become separate (Bereishis 10,25). Every Yid is distinct and separate from another Yidand he has the mission to transform himself into a Divine Chariot like the achievement of our Avos in his unique tailor made way, a composite of varying strengths and weaknesses, middos etc.,  designated just for him or her.

One must realize that this is a life long challenge. One has the choice to either embrace the challenge with all its hurdles or to be saddened to the point of giving up hope of ever being able to achieve even part of it. Both directions and choices are hinted on the flags in the name of the Avos. First, let us examine the choice of life long dedication to attain this goal as much as we can.מעשה אבות סימן לבנים . Our Avos have implanted within us the inner strength to take up the challenge to fly one’s personal one of a kind flag. This is hinted in the first flag with the letters of איי with the gematriah of 21 אהיה the name of Hashem which translates as I will become. It was this name of Hashem with which Moshe Rabbeinu was told to inform Yisrael which will bring the redemption from Mitzrayim.  No matter how many failures one goes through he is infused with the name of Ehheyeh which means nevertheless I shall become.

The second letters of the Avos’s name spell the word  בצע  which means profit. Everyone wants to make a killing in the market by investing a little and come out with bundles. You must realize that by embracing the spiritual life of challenges that you have invested in not only the deal that comes once in a lifetime, nor the deal of the century. You have invested in the best deal since the beginning of time. The Avos already invested the principle for you. Now, all that one has to do is to invest time and labor for 100 years and your returns will be for eternity  1,000,000,00000000000000000000000000000000000000 00000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000 etc. add infinitum of what you invested. Most people work their kishkes out in order to put away money for their retirement at 65 or 70. A percentage of those people chas veshalom don’t reach retirement age. Another large percentage will be too sick and compromised to have a quality of life at that age and physical condition. Yet everyone works like a dog his and her entire life for those few years of retirement. One must use his brain and intelligence to understand that the more profitable choice hands up if you are not an imbecile, is to embrace the challenge. This is where the third letters of the Avos’s names play a role – חקר, to think with one’s intellect.  Does it not make more sense to invest in returns that are beyond this world with such an unimaginable quality of life that one has never experienced before on earth and that will last forever and ever. Of course if one has been befriended by his yetzer hara, he will not allow the individual to think about the colossal “loser” deal he is offering him. After all the yetzer hara is the biggest scam artist that exists and he knows his duped customers well and doesn’t give a hoot if you waste your life away, leaving one totally spiritually bankrupt and nothing for your spiritual retirement in the Next World.

The ending letters of their name spell מקב a hammer. This tool is used to build. By taking upon oneself the challenge, one will build himself into a servant of Hashem while he builds for himself the most incredible world that is awaiting him with his eternal rendezvous together with Hashem.

Or one can choose not to embrace the challenge because it seems so difficult. He can take the איי and instead of becoming extraordinary he can feel  איי Aye for himself Woe to me that I must be challenged with Torah and Mitzvos. Instead of a profit בצע he sees himself as being  עצב  unhappy with a life of hurdles, and he therefore chooses to remain a dwarf during his one time appearance in this world. He foresees himself beingמקב  hammered all the time with obligations and he misses his freedoms to do what he pleases when he pleases. He doesn’t realize that with freedoms to feed one’s every craving, one does not build but only destroys himself and others. Instead of thinking intellectually which embrace makes more sense, he takes חקר and makes himselfרחק  at a distance by self persuasion and rationalization  that the journey is too far and tedious.

An active flag דגל  will have the segulah to be דלג to skip with the help of Hashem who will aid him overcome constant obstacles and feel the simcha of victory over one’s yetzer harah.

Those who embrace the challenge will be able to fly their flag high. For only with רוח, a wind, a “spiritual” journey, can one transform his limp and lifeless flag into being alive, flapping its wings in the air and showing to the world its bright colors of the Divine Throne.