The Sword of Eisav And the Lights of Yaakov
Inside the canal, where Jerusalemites hid from the Romans during the siege of the Second Temple, a 2,000-year-old iron sword was found. The sword was inside a leather scabbard. Parts of the belt that carried the scabbard were also found.Bereishit 27:40 - Yitzhak Avinu tells Eisav:
Eli Shukrun and Ronny Reich, who are in charge of the digs, said that the sword "may have belonged to a Roman infantryman who was stationed in Jerusalem when the Great Rebellion broke out in 66 CE.
"The sword is surprisingly well-preserved: not just in terms of length – about 60 cm. – but also in the preservation of the leather scabbard… and some of its decorations."
At the side of the canal, a stone tablet was found with a rare etching of the golden Menorah that was a central item in the Jewish Temple. The archeologists note that the fact that it was found very close to the Mount is very important, and they surmise that "a person who had seen the real Menorah and was impressed by its beauty engraved its image on a slab of stone and then threw it to the side of the road, not imagining that his creation would be found 2,000 years later."
But it's not just a symbolic idea that a Roman soldier's sword would now be found by Jews. The Roman sword is being diminished little by little.
Afghanistan - Insurgents shot down a U.S. military helicopter during fighting in eastern Afghanistan, killing 30 Americans, most of them belonging to the same elite Navy SEALs unit that killed Osama bin Laden, as well as seven Afghan commandos, U.S. officials said Saturday. It was the deadliest single loss for American forces in the decade-old war.Those of us who value American lives consider this tragic. The army that is trying to protect the world from the terrorist threats of the Talibans and Al-Qaedas of the world deserve our respect. However, on the other hand, the American military is a branch of the sword of Eisav.
Add to that the fact that:
The senior Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee says the biggest reason the United States is seeing its credit downgraded is that it spends too much money being “the military policemen of the world.”and you have a full-fledged diminishing of the sword of Eisav.
Rep. Barney Frank tells CBS’s “The Early Show” that reining in defense spending is “going to be my mantra” for the next few months.
If Yitzhak Avinu says that Eisav will live by the sword, and the sword is slowly going away, can Eisav survive? Not in the long run.
The fall of Eisav means the rise of Yaakov. Rivka Imeinu knew this when the twins were in her womb. She was told:
And yet, this low level has so much potential to bring us higher. One can only see the light when we're in complete darkness. We're in that darkness now, but perhaps, Hashem is showing us the light of the Menora sketch that was just discovered as a way of letting us know that we now have the potential to light up the world. After such displays of Sin'at Hinam, we need to come out of it through Ahavat Hinam.
Rav Pinto said:
And throughout both tragedies and their aftermaths, there were signs of Ahavat Hinam that were displayed among our people.התיקון הגדול והאמיתי של הדור הוא לא רק להתחזק באהבת חינם – אלא להפוך את זה ליסוד מרכזי בחיינו האישיים והציבורייםThe greatest and truest rectification of the generation is not only to strengthen ourselves in baseless love, but to turn this around into a central foundation in our personal and communal lives.
We have past Minha Gedola of Friday's clock. It is a new era. And things are definitely changing. On this Tish'a Be'av, may we continue that Ahavat Hinam - not only during and after tragedies - but at all times. May the sword of Eisav disappear so we can shine our light upon the world. As we mourn the Beit Hamikdash, may we remember the reasons for its destruction, so we can merit its rebuilding speedily in our days, Amen.