A Thought for the Week
Yaakov's name means crooked. The word
"Akov" means insidious. Esav defined his brother Yaakov's essence
according to his name. He is deviant, perverse, corrupt and crooked.
"That is why his name is Yaakov - because he has already tricked me
twice." (Breishis 27;36)
Esav called us Yaakov; G-d called us Yeshurun.
But last week it struck me that we have a much bigger problem than Esav calling us Yaakov. I received hate email from a prominent Jew. He admonished me for raising money for Jews to be able to defend themselves. I was told that I am incompassionate and na´ve and that as Jews we do not have the luxury of self-defense. I gave a shiur last week, explaining the words "Pereh Adam", and I was told by a listener that I and people like me are the real cause of Palestinian terrorism. It is not only they who are calling us Yaakov; it is our own brothers and sisters.
The Angel of G-d wrestled with Yaakov and asked him his name. "My name is Yaakov!" he answered. And the Angel said: "Stop calling yourself Yaakov! Your name is Yisroel!" You are not Akov - you are Yashar. Esav won't get it - that is the way I created the world; but you, the Jews must understand that you are Yisroel.
A voice calls out in the wilderness: Clear the way of Hashem; make a straight path in the desert, a road for our G-d. Every valley will be raised, and every mountain and hill will be lowered; the crooked will become straight -- VeHaya HeAkov LeMishor! -- and heights will become valley; and the glory of Hashem will be revealed...". (Isaiah 40;4)
Rabbi Yaacov Haber
Rabbi Haber is the OU's National Director of Jewish Education and the spiritual leader of the OU's Pardes Program
Comments and questions are very welcome
"A tree of life for those who embrace it"