Slichot this morning spoke of “The Archer” and “The Trapper”. Who are they? And how do they relate to the End of Days and Tshuva?
Yishmael is known as the Archer. Genesis 21:20, “he dwelt in the desert and became an accomplished archer”; Rashi on Genesis 21:10, “he would shoot arrows at Yitzhak and say he was just joking”.
Yishmael represents the forces of impurity that result from inappropriate lusts. Yishmael is strengthened when Jewish people blemish “The Covenent of Circumcision” (Brit Milah) by engaging in prohibited sexual immorality.
Esav is known as the Trapper. Rashi on Genesis 21:28, “he would trap people with his lying words”.
Esav reprsents the forces of impurity that result from inappropriate arrogance. Esav is strengthened when Jewish people blemish “The Covenant of the Mouth” (Brit Peh) by engaging in prohibited evil speech.
The holy Abir Yaakov, haRav Yaakov Abuchatzeira, ztkl, writes that the “Two Covenants” of the mouth and circumcision are like one, as the gematria of milah and peh are both 85. These covenants are directly connected to strict judgments insofar as “85 plus 1” equals 86, the gematria of the divine name Elohim, the attribute of strict judgments. (He further writes that our forefathers merited redemption from Egypt because they guarded these Two Covenants.)
Fundamentally, violations of the Two Covenants are the primary causes of Yishmael’s and Esau’s nourishment, strength and power. This manifests on a geopolitical level as the growing power and animosity of Yishmael and Esav over and towards the Jewish people.
Consequently, to defeat Yishmael and Esav, the Jewish people must do Tshuva and rectify and guard against blemishes to the Two Covenants.
Not only will this Tshuva “sweeten” and annul the harsh judgments . . .
This Tshuva will actually cause strict justice (din) to join forces with kindness (chesed) and mercy (rachamim) as an ally and protector against our enemies.
This is the secret of verse Psalm 94:1, which says, “El (chesed) n’kamot (din) haShem (rachamim)”