I My name is Israel.
I am old. Very old, and I will die soon.
You know, my name wasn’t always Israel.
When I was born, my mother, Rivkah, named me Yaakov.
I was the second twin to be born, holding on to my brother Esav’s heel.
I was destined to be the first-born, but somehow angels turned us around before we were born and Esav came out first.
Both Esav and I knew it was supposed to be the other way around. We couldn’t understand. Our mother knew also, although she never mentioned it.
To think our father Yitzchak didn’t know would be insanity bordering on blasphemy.
He knew. In a subconscious way, he knew.
He also knew the situation was such because something big was meant to happen. He didn’t know what exactly, but he knew it would shape the future of his people.
Years after our birth, on an uneventful afternoon, my twin brother Esav came home, disheveled, as usual. I was heating up the stew that was always kept on the stove, adding to it every day.
Just like that. On the most unremarkable way, a most meaningful event happened.
A bowl of stew was exchanged for the first-born rights. Esav sold me his first-born rights for a bowl of stew. A life-altering event happening without fanfare.
I knew I couldn’t turn back now, the succession of our spiritual tradition was through me.
Al taster panecha!
Don’t hide your face from me G!d!
Friends, please listen. We all wear a mask in our daily life. Even G!d does! Although, through concealment, G!d brings about the biggest miracles.
So I concealed myself. I put on a mask and costume and pretended to be Esav, my twin brother, inheritor of the first-born blessings. I did this in order to receive the blessing from our father’s soul that were supposed to go to Esav. This was only possible because of Yitzchak’s blindness. The deception was easy since our father knew deep down it was supposed to be this way...
A situation of paradox:
From Isaac’s blindness came forth vision for the future.
From deception, blessing.
From concealment, revelation.
We never know how life brings the deepest lessons.
We never know how life’s situations shape humanity. We never know how a moment, with a simple and random decision can shape history.
My father’s blessing ended up opening my eyes and my ears. Isaac’s blessing opened up in me an awareness of a reality beyond what we see. I could now see beyond our physical reality. I was free to see angels.
I was able to see the ladder linking humanity to the highest realms. I could see the endless flow of angels, constantly coming and going, silently creating miracles for us humans.
I was able to wrestle with my fears and uncertainties. They came in the form of an angel too by the way… I emerged from this struggle stronger than ever and gained a new name: “Israel”, the one who wrestled with G!d and prevailed!
Listen everyone! Shema!
You too are connected to this! You are b’nei Israel! You are Children of Israel, Children of Jacob, my descendants. It is your inheritance! You too have your ladder connecting you to the Source of Life. You too have an endless flow of angels creating miracles –just for you. You too can vanquish your fears and uncertainties!
This is the end of my life. It is now my turn to bless my children, my family.
I, Jacob, who can see angels. I, Israel, who inherited vision, suddenly have no Divine Inspiration. It has been taken from me.
I am filled with fear!
My entire family, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are in front of me, waiting for blessings. But they all look Egyptian. Dress Egyptian. Speak Egyptian.
Is this the end?
Was this all for nothing?
Has my family forgotten about the G-d of Avraham?
“What about G-d, the Master of the Universe!” I yell at them.
And they all respond. In unison.
“Shema Israel, A-donai E-loheinu A-donai echad”.
Listen Israel, listen Jacob, the Lord is our G!d, the Lord is One!
All is good. I breathe a sigh of relief and vision is restored, I recover Divine Inspiration.
I respond “Baruch shem kevod malchuto le’olam va’ed”, Blessed is the Name of His glorious kingdom forever.
All is good and I bless my family. I’d like you to know that these blessings uttered 3,000 years ago go on to this day. The blessings are alive, in all of you.