Barbecue and fireworks? Not for the Jews of 1776. That’s because in 1776 the fast day of the 17th of Tammuz fell out on the 4th of July.
This amazing fact further demonstrates that, at its foundation, America is Esav.
But how can America be Esav? When I say it, even religious people can’t understand. After all, America has been a unique haven for the Jewish people for over two hundred years. America has been by far the kindest gentile nation to the Jewish people since the Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D.
When Yaakov was faced conflict with Esav when he returned to E”Y from his sojourn with Lavan, he beseeched G-d to save him from Esav, crying out, “Rescue me, please, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esav, for I fear him lest he come and strike me down, mother and children.” (Genesis, 32:12).
Our Sages point out the redundancy in the language, “from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esav”. Why, they ask, does the Torah need to state “brother’ and “Esav” – by stating “brother” or “Esav” alone I could deduce the other – why did the Torah state both?
The answer is is that Yaakov was asking G-d to save him from 1) Esav when he acts like Esav, i.e., like a murderous oppressor; and 2) from Esav when he acts like a “brother”, with kindness.
For the first 2000 years of our exile, as we sojourned through Europe, Esav acted like Esav to the Jewish people, wantonly oppressing and murdering us throughout the centuries. There was no doubt, especially for religious Jews, that Esav was Esav.
But then we came to America. And suddenly, Esav was not the Esav the religious Jews were familiar with. We were welcomed and embraced, and allowed to fully participate in the economy and establish flourishing Torah institutions. We now had our first experience with Esav acting as a brother. (As for those who might contend Spain was also such a place, it is not the case because the golden age of Spain occurred while the Moor/Muslims occupied and ruled it).
And because America is the Jewish people’s first collective experience of “Esav acting as a brother”, many people don’t recognize it for what it is. Most religious Jews relate to Esav as a murderer, but not a brother. That’s why its hard for folks to comprehend and accept that America is a portion of Esav. Its hard to recognize something when one has no prior experience of that thing.
But, in fact, its very true that the love of Esav has led to a great destruction of the Jewish people in terms of assimilation, physical and spiritual. In a very real sense, Esav in his American manifestation, is loving Jews to death.
A Deeper Level – The Shining Husk
As explained in previous posts, in my opinion, America represents a manifestation of one of Esav’s two children, Ruel. In Hebrew, Ruel means “evil and kindness.” This is the essence of America. Its a wonderfully kind and charitable country, with many good righteous gentiles, and its a terribly evil country, filled with violence, immorality, selfishness, and Jew hating gentiles.
In a spiritual sense, America represents what’s known as the Klipah Nogah, this Shining Husk, which is an admixture of light and darkness, which is rooted in the Tree of Good and Evil. Unlike other klipot (husks) which are totally dark, the Shining Husk has redeemable aspects, sparks of light which the Jewish people “fish out” and elevate by the performance of mitzvot and good deeds.
Just as in Egypt, where the Jews “cleaned out” the sparks of holiness like fish out of the sea (this is the terminology of the Talmud), so too in America the Jews are cleaning out the sparks of holiness.
The reason Torah and religious Judaism has flourished in America is because there are many sparks of holiness in Ruel to redeem, because his name contains the holy name El, the name of kindness.
When these sparks of holiness are completely redeemed, in particular by acts of kindness, the Messiah will come. (It is well known that the great Sage, R. Chaim Volozin, declared in 1802 that America would be the final exile of the Torah).
What To Do?
Just as Esav’s avodah (service) in America is to love Jews to death, the Jewish people’s avodah must be to love our fellow Jews to life.