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The Systems of the Jewish Year

Not Just Tenderloin Steak

By Rabbi Yaacov Haber

In Israel and the world over we are mourning the loss of innocent and wonderful Jews. Children and teenagers are cut down by forces of evil. The tragedies are at times unspeakable. How can we respond?

Esau anguished Yaakov in injuring his thigh. Esau’s descendants anguish Jacob’s descendants, but in the end, we will be saved from them… the sun shone to heal him and he was saved from anguish, so will the sun of the Messiah shine, and he will heal us from our anguish and redeem us speedily in our days, amen!” (Sefer HaChinuch)

Jews are forbidden to eat the sinew of the thigh of any Kosher animal. Most of us don’t eat any of the hind-quarters of a cow. We stay away from the Gid HaNashah.

“Therefore the children of Israel should not eat the sinew of the hip unto this day; because he touched the hollow of Jacob’s thigh, even in the sinew of the thigh-vein.”

This unusual Mitzvah is explained by the Sefer HaChinuch:

“though Israel will suffer many oppressions in the exile by the nations and the descendants of Esau, [the Jews] should trust that they will not perish, but rather that their descendants and name will stand firm forever, and that their redeemer will come and redeem them from their oppressor.
The guardian angel of Esau, fought with Jacob our forefather and wished to eliminate Jacob and his descendants from the world, but could not get the better of him (Bereishis 32:26). He anguished him in injuring his thigh. Esau’s descendants anguish Jacob’s descendants, but in the end, Jacob will be saved from them… the sun shone to heal him and he was saved from anguish, so will the sun of the Messiah shine, and he will heal us from our anguish and redeem us speedily in our days, amen!”

No one can deny the pain that the Jewish people have suffered and continue to suffer from those that wish to eliminate us throughout the ages. Slavery in Egypt, the destructions of Jerusalem, the Crusades, the Pogroms, the Holocaust and unthinkable acts of terrorism that we are experiencing today. We are a traumatized nation.

We cannot eradicate evil and we can not erase that pain - but we can respond to it.

We may suffer anguish and indescribable pain but we will not be destroyed. Somehow, the anguish serves to make us even stronger.

If we have to see, experience, and feel the anguish, how do we respond as Jews?

Let’s ask ourselves why we survive. ,What can we do to become more civil; more moral; and how can we make a change in the world?

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