Friday Candle Lighting: 4:26 pm
Shabbat Ends: 5:29 pm
A Master of Disguise
“Yaakov was left alone and a man wrestled with him…” (32:25)
The secular Jewish newspapers make depressing reading. (Serves me right for reading them!)
It seems that every Torah prohibition — especially its norms of family life — have now been overridden by “enlightened” thought. What the Torah terms “abominable” has now not only become “acceptable” but even “admirable”.
Ironically, the rainbow, that symbol of G-d’s withholding His anger from Mankind, has been commandeered by that group provoking that same anger.
The negative drive in man has always had two agents provocateurs. One blatant and the other sophisticated.
“Yaakov was left alone and a man wrestled with him…”
Rashi comments: “One said (Rav Shmuel bar Nachmani): ‘he appeared to him (to Yaakov) as an idolater,’ and one (Rav Shmuel bar Acha) said: ‘he appeared as a Torah scholar.’” (Talmud Chulin 91)
The evil impulse has two faces: that of the idolater and that of the sophisticate.
We find this idea echoed in the Midrash:
Rav says, “The yetzer hara (evil inclination) is like a fly that sits on two openings of the heart”. Shmuel says, “It is like a grain of wheat”. (Midrash on Bereishet 4:7)
In search of his pleasures, the fly will visit the most putrid and disgusting places in the world. He is blatant in his lust.
Wheat is the symbol of sophistication, as the Talmud says: “A baby does not know how to say ‘Daddy’ and ‘Mommy’ until it tastes the taste of wheat.” (Berachot 40)
A Jew must know that the yetzer hara is much stronger that he. The yetzer hara is a malach — an angel. He is a master of disguise, and if G-d did not constantly help us we would not be able to withstand his onslaught.