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Parshat Toldot 5774 Drasha Rabbi Shaanan Gelman I Dont Need You Anymore The selection process of a name

e is an awesome responsibility placed upon a parent. They must contemplate the meaning of a potential name, possible nicknames and rhyming sounds which might be construed to mock the child, and in general how easily the name will allow the child entry into his or her society. I call it the DMV test; will the staffer behind the counter struggle to pronounce the name when their turn in line comes around? That being said, many parents feel that naming a child is their canvas for artistic creativity, an opportunity to make their unique mark on the universe. And if they have to punish an innocent child in the process, so be it. This trend of ingenuity in naming children dates back to Biblical times when the Avot and Imahot would select names based upon some sort of hope or significant event in their lives. Reuven is aptly named ." , ' -"

And receives his name because every male born in Egypt was to be cast into the Nile, and Moshe was miraculously saved from the plight of most by , and the Torah explains that he was named because he was drawn forth from the water: ,"" Yosef is so called because Rachel his mother prays that God may add another child after him: ' " " But the origin of Yaakovs name is a bit strange to say the least: , - 26 And after that came forth his brother, and , , his hand had hold on Esau's heel; and his , - ; . name was called Jacob. And Isaac was threescore years old when she bore them.

Why is this considered a significant incident to such an extent that Yaakovs name should reflect that he held onto his brothers heel? Why does Yaakov earn his name from such a mundane and irrelevant episode? Yaakov, interestingly enough, receives a second name. The circumstances of his naming are astonishingly similar to our parsha in

that he experiences a re-enactment of the birthing process; going through a darkness, surrounded by water, Yaakov passes over the divide of the , until he encounters a mysterious nemesis. It is with that man that Yaakov does battle throughout the night and after persevering he obtains his new name, : -" ,)' " ( " , - - And so we have to ask why Yaakov is subsequently named Yisrael after this second altercation? The sefer cites from a number of Chassidic sources all claiming that Yaakov initially attempted to inculcate the values and virtues of into his avoda: " , ," , , " Take for me Terumathis teaches us that each man must take into his own heart lessons from the outside world, learning even from those who espouse sin and vice. He must sanctify the base desires which led to evil deeds and transmute them into positive expressions of desire in his service of the Almighty.

The Kedushat Levi, the and the suggest that this is the significance of it is Yaakov reaching out for the heel of his brother to obtain what he has, to gleam from his derech and to inculcate the methodology of Esav into his own. This is, I believe, the way in which Yaakov begins his career by attempting to mimic, and become a carbon copy of his older brother. He figures, with the advice of his mother, that if you want the brachot, and if you want to acclaim and charm that Esav has, you must act like him. Yaakov therefore challenges his aggressor in the only way he knows, by waging the very same battle as Esav and by employing an identical tactic. Namely, if you want to impress Yitzchak, you must know how to hunt, you must know how to prepare a good meal, and you ought to have hairy arms and a coarse and ruddy exterior. And although he seems to have been successful in securing the brachot, he has not succeeded in the battle with Esav. As our parsha comes ot a close, Yaakov is on the run, fearing for his life. Our hero does not have a plan of re-emergence into the family, as far as he knows, there is no date of return. And though Yaakov has employed the very tactics of his brother, it seems, in the end, to have backfired.

Its an interesting thing about confronting a bully there is this instinctive reaction on the part of the victim to mimic the bully, to behave just like him. The moment though you show a tormentor that you dont need his tacit approval and that you do not strive to grasp onto his heels or care to dress like him or talk like him, he is no longer effective. One of the popular books on the best seller list these days is Malcolm Gladwells David and Goliath. He introduces a new reading of the story of David and Goliath, re-formulating the conversation about the underdog. Most who read the story of David see him as an unlikely hero, a man who shouldnt have won the fight against the giant. The reality though is that David was a sharpshooter, his bag of stones was not a poor choice of weapon, it was in fact a much more powerful tool than having to resort to hand to hand combat, a battle he could never have won. David turned the tables upon his archenemy by bringing a gun to a fist fight. The only thing is that it did not occur to anyone, not Goliath and not Shaul, that such a strategy was possible. The guy who is supposed to win in life plays by a certain set of rules, a protocol which assumes that the underdog has no choice but to play the same game, that he will always wish to participate in the very same match. But when David dresses down for the occasion, when he

refuses to wear the traditional garb of war (chain mail and helmet), he gains the edge. Yaakov begins his career seeking to mimic the style of his opponent, but that does not solve his dilemma. He must experience a re-birth, one in which he stops running and pacifying and he fights his demons in his own way. It is only in that moment that he can earn his freedom from the threat of his brother. At Yaakov is redeemed from the curse of Esavs heel and becomes the head () .

Yaakov has to learn to let go of the heel, and that he doesnt need someone else as a crutch to survive. Interestingly the first piece of advice he receives from his mother is to pretend to be like Esav, because the first course of action we all attempt against the Goliaths of our lives is flattery, do as Esav dictates, dress as he dresses, speak as he speaks. But something happens mid-charade when Yaakov returns moments after Yitzchak had sent Esav to go hunting, his father is surprised at the speed of his son )( : - , - 20 And Isaac said unto his son: 'How is it that , ;

. ' thou hast found it so quickly, my son?' And he said: 'Because the LORD thy God sent me good speed.' God has sent me great speed! He invokes the name of Hakadosh Baruch Hu and Yitzchak is tipped off, or at least he becomes suspicious: - , - 21 And Isaac said unto Jacob: 'Come near, I : pray thee, that I may feel thee, my son, whether .- , thou be my very son Esau or not.'

As Rashi notes: " - ) : ( ) ' , Its not the way of Esav to have the Name of God flow freely from his lips Rabbi Hershel Schachter zl (father of Rabbi Dr. J.J. Schacter) asked an interesting question: didnt Yaakov also know that it was not typical of Esav to mention ' ? He could have lost everything, after all the effort and after all of the risk, why the easy give-away?

R Schachter responded that we want the brachos around us, we want a comfortable life and we are entitled to a comfortable life, but there is one , one condition, the has to come first. He has to be front and center. We want and deserve success, but we cannot delete Hakadosh Baruch Hu from that conversation, and the moment we do, the moment we forget ' , its all worthless. If mentioning the ' means that I wont be as successful, so be it. At that moment Yaakov realizes that doesnt have to play Esavs game, he is not Esav, and he will be successful despite his inability to hunt and fight. We have to be willing to say to the bully I dont need you anymore to validate me. It is only when we undergo that paradigm shift of ceasing to model for everyone what it is they expect of us and start doing what it is that is proper ' that we can truly succeed. This is true on the personal level we have to become unafraid of what my friend thinks to a certain degree. I cant worry about the fact that I am more conscientious in halacha than my neighbor, I should not let that make me feel insecure. Its true on a communal level: We cant become bent out of shape over the fact that someone or some group of people judge our brand of Judaism to be less orthodox or deem us to be on the radical right. Thats not how we define ourselves. And on

the national level Israel cannot wait for Syrias approval or for Irans support. At some point you have to leave behind the trembling and cowardice child who reaches for the heel of his enemy, and become the man who unabashedly opposes him. We have to become comfortable in our own skin, unafraid of what people think. As individuals, as a community and as a nation. And may we have the courage to believe in our own convictions without having to look over our shoulders. And may that confidence bring us a renewed feeling of security and inner peace and pride in our accomplishments.