Dvar Torah Vayishlach 2007 – 5768 דבר תורה וישלח

The angel that fought with Yaakov, after being defeated, blessed Yaakov by changing his name. The name Yaakov is the personal name that our forefather had from birth. This was the name given him by his parents. It described a specific action of his when he was born and he held on to the AKEV, the “heel” of his brother.

ISRAEL is the name the angel gave Yaakov. This was an elegant name which described how he successfully overcame the powers that attempted to destroy him. It is also the name used to refer to all of Yaakov’s descendants, BNEI ISRAEL.

When some one commits a crime today, he is blamed for his actions. No one else is implicated in his crime. Not so when a Jew is accused of a crime. Usually it is the Jewish people who are alluded to and an attempt is made to incriminate all the Jews by implication. A finger is pointed not only at “Yaakov” or Jacob, the one who committed the crime, but an attempt is made to implicate “Israel” or all the Jews, implying that this is the way a Jew acts.

The non-Jewish world has transformed the blessing that Yaakov got from a blessing to a detriment. No longer is it just Yaakov accused but it is all of Israel. (See Gen. 32,29)

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