“A new king arises upon Mitzrayim which did not know Yosef. The Shem Mishmuel asks how could the Torah identify a Pharaoh of Egypt in the terms of חדש new? Koheles writes אין חדש תחת השמש and Chazal comment that there is nothing new under the sun and only above the sun can there exist newness. For in the realm of nature “under the sun”, there cannot be found new creations, only extensions or alterations of already existing matter. It is only in the spiritual realm “above the sun”, that one can find in the supernatural a manifestation of true newness and creativity.
He answers that when a special gift if given to Am Yisrael and they don’t utilize it and it lies by the wayside, then the goyim can “steal” it from them and claim it as their own. When Am Yisrael were dwelling in Mitzrayim they began assimilating with the Egyptians and their culture as it is written ותמלא הארץ אותם. They sought a life of the natural and bodily pleasures instead of the pursuit of the spiritual treasures that they inherited from their forefathers. They placed themselves under the sun thereby forfeiting the claim of newness which was now stolen by the Egyptians. The great “steal” and New World Order manifested itself with the enslavement of the Jewish People נחחדשו גזרותיו. Time after time they instituted new decrees thereby crushing and breaking the Yidden, a nation whose existence is essentially supernatural and spiritual. Had they preserved and conducted their lives with their unique gift of spirituality, they could not fallen subject to enslavement which relates only to physical objects and matter.
To continue with this thought let us examine last week’s parsha specifically the beracha with which Yaakov blessed Shimon and Levi כלי חמס מכרתיהם . Rashi comments the murder is the weapon and inheritance of Aisav. You stole it from him by killing the inhabitants of Shechem (Tanchumah). The word חמס means to steal to cross your boundaries by taking something that does not belong to you. This act arouses Hashem’s חמת anger. This word is also the letters of תחם which means border. When a Yid “steals” the culture of the nations and identifies with a foreign entity as his own, he crosses the boundary which results in וחרה אף ה’. This infidelity triggers a wrath by which we are the recipient of a New Order just like we found as recent as the Nuremberg Laws of World War 2.
הקול קול יעקב והידים ידי עשו. Our first line of defense against our enemies is tefillah our primary weapon. The strengthening of emunah and the distancing from the lifestyles of the culture, are our primary tools of protection. This is hinted in the first passuk שמות בני ישראל whose acronym is שבי captivity. The seventy “souls” that descended to Mitzrayim were not able to be enslaved because את יעקב they entered Mitzrayim with the קול קול יעקב. They were cognizant of their essence of being elevated above the sun and therefore Torah and Tefillah were their primary objective and connection in life. They understood well their שמות their names, their שם (shawm) “there”, that which lay beyond the physical bodies, must be the primary driving force in their lives. The שם (Shawm) is their only true value and assets as hinted in the word שומא. Without living connected to the שם one can only experience שממה desolation. During their stay in Mitzrayim they preserved their names to the fullest שמות בניי ישראל and were spared שבי which is the gematriah of 12 times the name of הויה which protected them from the constellations and physical forces twelve months of the year.
The gematriah of קול יעקב is equal to 318 one more than the word יאוש despair and hopeless. This teaches us that even when a situation looks hopeless one should still not fall into despair, for the koach of Tefillah and Torah will overcome the enemy. This thought can be gleaned from the passukהקול קול יעקב והידים ידי עשו upon which the Chazal comment when the קול קול יעקב the voice of Yaakov is active then the ידים of Aisav will not function to harm us. However, if one examines the passuk he will see the contrary. It says when the קול of Yaakov is active then the ידים ידי עשו? One answer is that you read the passuk as follows הקול קול יעקב והידים that when Yaakov displays the koach of tefillah he then also possesses the hands of Aisav which now cannot harm him. With Torah and Tefillah one must not despair.
Since before November we have been hearing claims about the election being stolen. How much stolen is not the issue for us to take to heart since Hashem does what He wants. Rather our response to the reality that it might have been the greatest steal in American history should be an arousal for self introspection the same way that one must react after seeing a guilty Sotahwoman after she drank the Sotah water. The guilty finger points to us, that we too are stealing Aisav’s hands that are used exclusively to facilitate bodily pleasures, indulgence, egoism, selfishness, power, murder etc.
The hands of Aisev are hairy which symbolizes excess of the physical, in contrast to the hands of Yaakov which symbolizes one who partakes from this world only what is necessary to enlist in the service of Hashem. Yaakov has everything יש לי כל for necessities of life our bountiful thanks to Hashem. Being in this state of life one is not filled with jealousy of others which destroys achdus and shalom in Yisrael. Society daily comes out with new products of luxuries but not necessities. Such a mindset like Yaakov ונתן לי לחם לאכול ובגד ללבוש controls his body and not vice versa.
Hashem with the Covid has been arousing us to return to Him and realize אין עוד מלבדו. With the coming availability of the new vaccines we are retested anew. Do we take a sigh of relief and put our trust in medicine alone or do we say baruch Hashem He sent me a gift to remain well. If one takes the vaccine in his arm one must ensure that his hand is not the hand of Aisav that clamors I don’t need Hashem now since I have the vaccine. It must be the hand of Yaakov which is described as חלק (chalak) smooth which acts in the fulfillment of the passuk כי חלק ה’ עמו (cheilek) that it demonstrates the madraigah of קול קול יעקב that never leaves its emumah in Hashem as the passuk says ויהי ידיו אמונה .
– Rav Brazil