Parshas Vayishlach

Our Not So Secret Weapon for Victory


“And Yaakov was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until dawn.” (Bereishis 32:25)

In this week’s Parsha, we have the famous wrestling match between Yaakov and a stranger. Rashi says that this stranger was the guardian angel of Esav. Each nation has its “guardian angel” and this was Esav’s angel. The commentaries also explain that the guardian angel of Esav is the same as Satan and the Evil Inclination – They are all ONE and attempt to turn us away from serving Hashem.

The Chofetz Chaim poses a very interesting question. Why did Esav’s guardian angel wait so long before his attack; Why didn’t he fight against Avraham or Yitzchok? Why did he first attack Yaakov?

The Chofetz Chaim says, we know that Avraham was the pillar of chesed, of kindness. Yitzchok was the pillar of service to Hashem. Yaakov was the pillar of Torah. Satan could tolerate the kindness of Avraham and the service to Hashem of Yitzchok. However, Yaakov ‘s Torah could not be tolerated. Yaakov had to be attacked to fight this terrible threat to Satan.

We are all aware of the importance of chesed and service to Hashem. We see from the Chofetz Chaim, the vital importance of learning Torah. It is our Torah learning that combats and counteracts Satan’s attempts to drag us down, spiritually. When we strengthen our Torah learning we weaken Satan.

During the Roman control of the Land of Israel, they forbade the performance of many mitzvos. They outlawed the teaching and learning of Torah. Rabbi Akiva ignored the edict. He was eventually caught and tortured to death. When his students asked him to stop his Torah learning, he told them a parable. A fox was sitting by the seashore, observing the fish swimming to and fro. He asked the fish what they were doing. They replied that they were swimming in different directions to escape the fishermen’s nets. The crafty fox told them to come to dry land where they will be saved from the nets. The fish laughed at the fox’s silly idea saying that if we come ashore we will certainly die. We must be in the water to live. We will just keep trying to avoid the fishermen’s nets. Rabbi Akiva said that just as fish need water to live, so too do Jews need Torah to live. Torah is our source of life.

We should all try to increase our Torah learning as much as we can.
That will bring us closer to Hashem and will weaken our adversary and enemy, Satan.