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Moshiach in the Parsha

"Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother.."  (Vayishlach 32:4)

The Torah relates, in great detail, how these messengers were sent to appease Esau.

Chassidic texts explain that at that time Jacob was ready for the ultimate Messianic redemption: he had learned a great deal of Torah and served the Almighty with all his heart. He had observed the 613 mitzvot to the fullest, in spite of all the difficulties and obstacles thrown his way when he stayed in the household of Laban in Haran.

On his part, therefore, he was ready and prepared for the true and final redemption.

Jacob's messengers were to check out the spiritual status of his brother Esau, to see whether he, too, was ready for the redemption.

The message they brought back, however, was negative: "We came to your brother, to Esau.." (Vayishlach 32:6, and see Rashi there); i.e., the one whom you called "my brother," he is still "Esau, the wicked." He has not yet repented of his evil ways and deeds.

Esau was not yet ready at that time, thus causing the redemption to be delayed. Nowadays, however, after all these many years of observance of Torah and mitzvot in the face of the terrible harshness of the galut (exile), no doubt but that everything is ready for the redemption. Not only the Jewish people, but also the nations of the world (symbolized by "Esau") are ready and prepared for that blissful event. 

* * *

"These are the names of the chieftains [that came] of Esau, chieftain Magdiel, chieftain Iram; these are the chieftains of Esau.." (Vayishlach 36:40-43).

The present galut is referred to as "Galut Edom - the Edomite Exile," because the Romans - who brought about the present galut with their destruction of the Holy Temple - were mostly descendants of Edom. This galut is generally divided into two eras, governed by two kinds of chieftains-leaders, as mentioned in the verse cited:

The first is "Chieftain Magdiel." This name signifies, and is an expression of, "he magnified himself (yitgadel) above every god" (Daniel 11:36).

In this first era of the Edomite galut, the Roman empire expanded throughout the world, seeking to overpower Judaism and to make it difficult for Jews to observe Torah and mitzvot.

The second one is "Chieftain Iram." This name, the Midrash notes, is an expression of "he is destined to amass (le'erom) treasures for the royal Moshiach."

This refers to the second era of the Edomite galut, the one close to the Messianic days. In that time Rome will cease to subdue Israel and will itself submit to holiness. Moreover, it will even assist Moshiach. Rome will be transformed to realize the sacred meaning of its name: Romi as an expression of hitromemut - exaltation, i.e., the exaltation of holiness.



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