Sunday, 26 February 2012

Yakov and the Stolen Brachos

Our journey from Rosh Hashana to Sukkos

by GYE (See all authors)

A fascinating and beautiful Zohar (Raya Me'heimna) that is read before Tekiyas Shofar in many kehillos:

On Rosh Hashana, Yitzchak (representing the aspect of judgement) calls his son Esav (representing the Satan) and asks him to bring to taste from the food of the people of the world, each person, according to his ways. For at that time "and his eyes were dimmed of sight", for out of him (the aspect of judgement) came the one who darkens the face of all creations (the Satan). And Yitzchak goes and sits on the seat of judgment, and he calls Esav and tells him to "hunt for me a catch and make for me delicacies as I like, and bring it to me". And Rivka, tells her son Yakov (the aspect of mercy), the beloved of her soul, given to her from the first day of creation, and she commands him to awaken HIS delicacies. And Yakov awakens from below, dressed in prayers and supplications. "And the voice is the voice of Yakov", through the Shofar that goes up. And Yakov awakens and comes before Yitzchak. And he gives him to eat and they become one with each other. And then Yakov brings him wine - that guarded wine that brings gladness to the heart, representing the World to Come. And then Yitzchak "smells the fragrance of his clothes"; the prayers that go up and the supplications, and he blesses him. And the fire of anger (intensity of the judgement) is quieted, and his heart is happy and all becomes "mercy", since Yitzchak becomes included in Yakov. And Yisrael leave from the judgement with happiness and blessings....

"And Yakov has just left" on this day (Rosh Hashana) in happiness and blessings from above, when Esav comes in with his catch, loaded down with all the deeds of the world. And he too makes delicacies, sharpening his tongue to prosecute and preparing witnesses. And he comes to his father (the aspect of judgement) and says "get up, father", awaken the judgment and eat from all the bad deeds of the world that I have found. "And a great fear falls upon Yitzchak", for he cannot separate himself from being included in Yakov in happiness. And he says, "who was just here - with his catch of prayers and supplications - and I ate from it all before you came, and I blessed him, he too should be blessed". "And when Esav hears the words of Yitzchak his father, he cries a great cry", for he sees that all his catch is worthless.

"And Esav guards anger against Yakov", to go after him and prosecute against him always. And Yakov runs, in those days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, to be saved from Esav's (the Satan's) wrath. He repents (for 10 days) and sits in fasting on Yom-Kippur when "Yakov sees Esav coming with 400 men", these are all the prosecutors ready to prosecute against him. And "Yakov fears a great fear and affliction", and he increases his prayers and supplications. "And Yakov says, 'Oh G-d of my father Avraham, and the G-d of my father Yitzchak', etc.." Until he takes a plan for himself and says "I shall redeem his face with a present that goes before me. And he took from what he had a present for Esav, 200 goats, etc..." (the Zohar says elsewhere that the Sa'ir Hamishtale'ach - the goat that is tossed off the cliff carrying our sins, is a "present" to the Satan on Yom Kippur, so that he should leave us alone and not prosecute against us).

When Esav receives this gift, he becomes the protector of Yakov and offers to go along with him. But Yakov doesn't want "neither his honey nor his sting", and he tells Esav "to go on before him"... "And on that day (Yom-Kippur), Esav returns to his way". When? At the time of Ne'ilah; he separates himself from the holy nation. And Hashem forgives the sins of His children and is Mechaper on them, since the prosecutor goes away with his present (satisfied) and separates himself from His children. And then Hashem wants to rejoice with his children.

What is written after that? "And Yakov traveled to Sukkos and built himself a house" ... "And therefore, he called the place Sukkos". And when they (Klal Yisrael) sit in the Sukka, they have been saved from the prosecutors, and Hakadosh Baruch Hu rejoices with his children. Happy is their lot in this world and the next!

Rabbosai, we are now traveling to "Sukkos"... The prosecutors have left us, and Hashem wishes to rejoice with us! We are traveling now, which means we are outdoors, sweating, building, working, until we get to Sukkos in a few short days.

May we all merit to keep ourselves clean, far away from Esav i.e. the Satan and his prosecutors, as we travel towards Sukkos to rejoice with Hashem!