Jewish Soul Journey

DUST OF THE DAWN – YOM KIPPUR

 

 

 

 

                                                   

           One of the most famous confrontations
in history has an interesting “footnote”. 
We are informed by the Midrash that the battle between the angel of
Eisav and Yaakov was so intense that the “dust” it raised reached the Kisei
Ha-Kavod., and then we are told wondrously that all the successes of Yaakov
Avinu, in business ventures and in battle (challenge) as well as the success of
all of his descendants throughout the ages comes in the merit of this “dust of
contention”.
(Shir Hashirim Raba: 3:6:2)

              These puzzling and profound statements warrant
further attention in order to look into the spiritual molecular structure of
this “dust”.

           We begin our analysis with the understanding
that every human being is a composite of soul and body, intellect and emotions,
the spiritual and the physical. When we make choices in our everyday activities
– those choices can either align us with Hashem’s purpose for us or send us
floundering in the opposite direction. It is through seeing and living life
through “soul perspective”, which is “cosmic view” of the world, that allows us
to traverse safely the occasional bumpy “terrain” of life’s challenges.                                                      

               As is well known, Esau, who came
with four hundred men to confront Ya’akov,
symbolizes the yetzer hora’s efforts to try to upset this synergistic balance. That
night Yaakov returned over the Yabuk to collect – pachim ketanim – small vessels
and had a dramatic encounter with the angel of Esau. Near the end of the battle,
Yaakov’s gid hanasheh, the cord/sinew that coordinates balance and movement and
allows us to effect a change in physical position, was dislocated. Perhaps
we can say that the gid hanasha not only represents the pivotal point for
movement but also symbolizes the moral direction we choose.

            Interestingly, the exact size army that Esau
came with is the numerical equivalent of the Hebrew word for straw (KaSh) spelled  – Kuf Shin. The nature of straw is that each
strand itself is easily broken, but when many strands of straw are bound
together they become strong and resilient. So to in life, each individual small
incident, like a piece of straw, can be seen as relatively insignificant and be
easily torn (discarded), however if one allows themselves to “bundle up issues”
until the sum total of them looks and feels as strong as the army of Esav then
even these minor but now bundled confrontations within daily life can seen and
felt as overwhelming.

The conflict
between Yaakov and Eisav symbolizes the quintessential battle between selflessness
and selfishness. The Zohar in Parshas Toldos informs us that everything that
Yaakov Avinu did was for the sake of Heaven (l’Sham Shamayim). The Midrash
tells us that Yaakov is the symbol of the Yetzer Tov while Esau corresponds to
the Yetzer Hora. At the end of the titanic struggle that lasted until the break
of dawn, Yaakov Avinu was able to triumphant over the angel of Esau. Our forefather
Yaakov, like his predecessors Avraham and Yitzchak, was able to successfully realign
his spiritual genetic propensities thus enabling us to be the perpetual
beneficiaries of this treasury of moral refinement.

           May we all merit to transform each
challenging situation from the “dust of potential confrontation” into
the “gold dust of actualized conciliation” thereby meriting to bring
closer the final redemption (geula) – may it be soon in our days.

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