Roy Neuberger - Jan. 24, 2020

“I … have heard the wail of the children of Israel whom Egypt enslaves and I have remembered My covenant.” (Exodus 6:5) When we are suffering and cry out to Hashem, He will rescue us.

My friends, the fires of hatred are being stoked. A fire is not easy to start; you have to light the kindling; then, as the flames strengthen, you add increasingly bigger logs. But once the fire becomes strong, it can easily spread. This is clearly demonstrated in Australia, where numerous deadly fires are out of control.

We are still in the early stages, but the fires of hatred are beginning to get out of control.

We may think that the world will listen to rational arguments for peaceful coexistence, but “Esav sone l’Yaakov … It is halacha … that Esav hates Yaakov.” (Rashi on Genesis 33:4). Hatred is controllable only if Hashem saves us. That is why we have to cry out to Him. In Australia, the flames are spreading from treetop to treetop, where no one can reach them.

I recently spoke a beloved and respected member of the Lakewood community, Dr. Howard Leibowitz, who called to my attention an amazing comment by the Ramban on Parshas Vayigash. The Torah describes how, after Yosef reveals himself to his brothers, the family descends to Egypt. “And Hashem spoke to Yisroel in visions of the night, and said [to him] ‘Yaakov, Yaakov,’ and [Yaakov] answered ‘Hineni.’” (Genesis 46:2)

The Ramban wants to understand: is our Patriarch’s name “Yisroel” or “Yaakov?” The angel has already said, “No longer will … your name [be] Yaakov, but [rather] Yisroel, for you have striven with the Divine and with man and you have overcome.” (Genesis 32:29)

Why now does Hashem address him as “Yaakov?”

My friends, when we descend into Exile, we are not “Yisroel!”

When we descend into Exile we are “Yaakov!”

The Ramban is teaching us that, in the future, when Yaakov’s descendants emerge from Egypt, they will able to “strive with the Divine and with man and overcome,” but now, when Yaakov is descending into Exile, “he [is] only Yaakov,” not “Yisroel.”

“Yisroel” is the name applied to us in our strength and glory; “Yaakov” is our name when we are weak and surrounded by enemies.

It is dangerous to pretend that we are strong when we are weak, to believe that we dominate when we are subjugated, or that we are at home when we are among the nations. If we fool ourselves, then we will not “wail” to Hashem, and we need to cry out in order to be saved!

“Favor me, Hashem, for I am feeble. Heal me, Hashem for my bones shudder. My soul is utterly confounded and You, Hashem, how long? …. Every night, I drench my bed, with my tears I soak my couch. My eye is aged … by my tormentors….” (Psalm 6)

Only when, with a broken soul, we implore Hashem for mercy, will we understand that the flames around us are the harbingers of dawn!


Dawn lights up the East


Recent Posts


Ishmael Temple Mount yarmulke Rebbe God angels Garden of Eden miracles Red Heifer Judah paradise prayer terrorism Torah portion New Moon spirituality Holy land logic Elul Temple Eglon Jewish festival Western Wall persecution Chanukah seder stones sanctity Amalek commandment Rabbi Akiva cries Ten Commandments Jerusalem synagogue Passover Seder Laban compassion Babylon Benjamin leprosy priests prophets ancestors bible Father in Heaven menorah Magog Heavenly Mercy Holy Temple Passover Moshe chaos earthquake Creator Aharon dreams Ezekiel Edom Raiders of the Lost Ark war Zion, Angel sin plague Earth rabbi Parsha Tefillin Geula Rosh Hashanah alone hubris darkness Rome Mount Sinai Zechariah Sukkos minyan Galil Psalm gossip Zion heaven Sabbath Terror Attack in Jerusalem king peace trees Final redemption rain biblical David Hasmoneans Torah scholars Tallis Hagar Maimonides Gog Judaism Lot spies self-worship Holy Ark Midrash Noah Mount Hermon messiah United Nations Rebecca Jewish holidays survival Bilaam soul Moab ethics Achashveirosh kiddush mitzvos kosher missiles End of Days Sefiras haOmer Maccabeans Hashem Genesis Yaakov yeshiva Abraham Samuel the Prophet Egypt blessing Prophecy terrorists Moses Ashkenazi King Solomon Bais Hamikdosh Jew Protective edge terror 2020 Vision Pharaoh Land of Israel Miriam chessed Amram Chafetz Chaim media Day of Atonement Blame Rabbis Song of Songs fragrance heavenly gates meraglim tears Shabbos Second Temple Shechina angel prophet Samuel Chanukkah cholent locusts pain Abrahem death Zohar redemption Jacob heavenly throne keys sacrifices patriarchs Canaan idolatry exile Sephardi Sea of Galilee prophet Shavuos culture King of the Universe India Samuel lights Isaiah holiday night spiritual Golus Leah Mount Zion idol sun tabernacle Babylonia Holocaust liberation Europe Boaz mikveh flood murder Tu b'Shvat Isaac Moshaich Matisyahu world to come holy repent Banias Baku Lunar eclipse Western World Ishmeal Jews Purim Tzuk etan tablets Beit Hamikdash Hebrew Chofetz Chaim pray Dead Sea moon Torah secret Jeremiah fault Rosh Hashana deluge miracle Eve Sarah siddur judgement Yerushalayim evolution forefathers Nation of Israel Angel of Death barley eternal Golden Calf Divine presence Pinchas Chol haMoed resurrection Judgement Day eternity prayer book danger Ammon evil inclination High Priest Joseph evil Rachel Repentence three weeks Golan shofar Jewish Malbim Teshuva slavery Sages Faith Rashi incense prayers Red Sea shield of Abraham stars Talmud tremors fires Solar eclipse Solomon Avraham Jewish People redeemer rosh chodesh Ruth kesuba fear Mordechai enemies bris milah terrorist Moshiach esrog Miraglim Adam Children of Israel purity mikveh, Sabbath Yom Kippur Esther Sodom Tu b'Av water Ishamael mitzva Master of the Universe Psalms King David bird Macabees Tisha b'Av song Day of Judgement Holiness brotherhood violence Balak slaves Sukkah automobiles Israel Esau salvation Matriarchs Haman materialism repentance Exodus Greeks light America matzos High Holy Days patriarchs'matriarchs Shushan creation kinneret G-d shmittah