The Voice of Yaakov

By Rabbi Dovid Markel


When Yitzchak desired to bless his son Esav, Yaakov cunningly took his place. Suspecting that the individual before him may not have indeed been Esav, Yitzchak asked his son (Yaakov) to come close so that he could feel him.

Upon touching his skin, Yitzchak exclaimed, (Bereishis 27:22) “The voice is the voice of Yaakov, but the hands are the hands of Esav.” Rashi (Bereishis 27:21) comments that what was particular about Yaakov’s voice was his mention of the Almighty:

“Esav does not usually mention the name of Heaven with frequency, but this one said: ‘Because the Lord your God prepared it….'”

The Medrash (Eicha Rabba 2) explains, that from this verse we see that the strength of the Jewish people is in prayer and Torah study:

“When the voice of Yaakov is heard in the synagogue and the study hall, (there is no strength) to the hands of Esav; when the voice of Yaakov is not heard in the synagogue or study halls, then the hands of Esav (can overpower Yaakov).”

This week, there was a tragedy in a synagogue and study house. Evil barbarians, the supposed progeny of Yishmael, burst into a synagogue and slaughtered the progeny of Yaakov, in the midst of their study and prayers.  The Medrash stated that such an occurrence should be impossible! We must cry out to G-d, that in His own Torah He has assured us that when the Jewish people are involved in prayer and Torah study we are invincible!

Yet, also understood from the episode, is that during extraneous circumstances Yaakov must garb himself in Esav’s clothing and use the hands of Esav.

Jewish blood cannot be made cheap! The people of Israel must exhibit physical strength as deterrence for those people whose only language is the sword.

May G-d finally listen to the ultimate prayer of the voice of Yaakov: that there be no more terror and tragedy for the children of Yaakov, with the coming of Moshiach speedily–now!

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