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Like a Camel

obormottel Sunday, 23 December 2018

The Gemara in Brochos, perek 9, says, "One who sees a gamal (camel) in a dream should know that it was decreed he should die, but he was saved from the decree." It brings from this week's parsha Va'Yigash perek 46 possuk 4, "Hashem tells Yaakov: 'I will go down with you to Mitzrayim and I will also come back up with you.'" The lashon kadosh words used for "also come back up" are "gam aloh" which is similar to "gamal." What exactly is the limud and does this possuk about Yaakov have any deeper connection with a gamal other than some similar letters?

A camel is the only mammal that can traverse a desert. Hashem made the camel with extra storage space for water, flat wide feet that don't sink in the sand, eyelashes and eyelids designed to keep sand out, amongst other protections from dehydration, heat, and sand. However, a camel placed in a desert is doomed to eventually die. For it is not in the capability of a camel to know how to get from one oasis to another, nor how to exit the desert. Without a master guiding it, the camel loses all sense of direction. So a camel alone will eventually dehydrate, overheat, and die. Thus he is a symbol of one that was decreed to die. However camels do not enter the desert alone, and therefore the camel actually is a symbol of one saved from death thanks to his guide.

This is what Hashem told Yaakov. I understand your fear of going to Mitzrayim. Under normal circumstances, it is a death sentence - physically and spiritually. However, I will accompany you down to Mitzrayim and I will come back up with you, too. I will guide you through the "desert." You, like the camel, have the innate kochos to survive as long as the guide is with you.

You and I are camels in a desert. Hashem has given us the ability to survive in the desert. We BH have tools that we have learned to help keep our eyes, minds, bris, and hands clean. We BH don't sink, and we keep the sand out of our eyes. We stay hydrated and cool with Torah and mitzvos. However, we dare not forget for a moment that we have a guide, Hashem, who is leading us from one water hole to another as we journey through the dunes of sand.

The sforim tell us that the havtacha Hashem gave to Yaakov was said with the word "gam" - to include future generations. His promise is that He will escort each of us out of our personal "Mitzrayim." Let's just hold His hand!