After Yaakov and his family crossed the
Yabok River, Yaakov returned to retrieve pachim ketanim — small flasks.
There, the Sar of Esau confronted him; what followed was the definitive battle
for supremacy between the forces of good and evil. This battle continued to
rage throughout the night until finally, Yaakov emerged victorious at which
point he was informed of what his new name would become.
The stage was set for this momentous
battle by Yaakov’s interest in recovering some small flasks. What could the
Torah be hinting to when it informs us that the pachim were small? What
relevance does their size have to the lessons in this episode?
Although many people assume that
“bigger is better”, sometimes we find that very low-key events or small items
actually are the “key” to accessing new horizons of achievement and success.
A key is a relatively small and
inexpensive item, but it serves to open important doors. Without one’s keys a
person could find oneself without entry into ones own home, car or office.
Like keys that open physical
doors, the words of holy Torah open mental and spiritual portals, therefore let
us try to “key-in” on the meaning of the name uttered by the Sar of Esau when
he announced: “No longer will it be said that your name is Ya’akov, but YiSRAL,
for you have striven with the Divine and with man and have overcome.”
The Creator entrusted the “key”
to insights and wisdom embodied in our holy Torah to Avraham Avinu. This
tradition (“key”) was handed down to his son Yitzchok, who later gave it to his
son Yaakov. Apparently at that time since the Bnei Yaakov were beginning their
transition from a single family into a nation of millions, it was deemed the
appropriate time for the Creator in His infinite wisdom to, so to speak, design
within the developing Bnei Israel a tamperproof supernal combination lock for
the Torah that only the Jewish people could access.
What is this mystical combination code that
binds us with our unbroken tradition all the way back to the Avos? We know that
a person’s name reveals his or her spiritual essence, purpose and potential. Therefore
it behooves us to unlock one of the deeper meanings within the name given by the
Creator to the entire Jewish nation as well as this same name given for our
holy land. The Ari Z’l reveals in a few
short words one of the mystical secrets of our national name by informing us
that the five (osios) letters of the name Y’SRAL are the acronym – roshei
teivos – of the names of our three Avos and four Imahos: The Yud of Yitzchak and Yaakov is coded
within the Yud of Y’SRAL; the S of Sarah within the Shin;
the R of Rivka and Rachael within the Raish, the A of Avraham
within the Alef and the L of Leah within the Lamed. Imbedded
with our Nation’s name and the name of our land is the spiritual genetic
combination of all our Avos and Imahos! The name Y’sral, the “key” –
combination code – to our existence is an example of a single word in the Torah
that contains worlds of meaning and value.
May we, the Bnei Y’sral, soon merit the final
geula allowing all of us to once again live peacefully in our promised land –
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