Rabbi Elimelech Gottlieb gives over this Torah from his Rebbe, Rav Henoch Liebowitz, ZT’L. I think it is apropos of the loss we have suffered with Rav Liebowitz’ petira yesterday.
“Of the Maasei Avot Siman LeBanim of Sefer Bereshit perhaps none is more pertinent to us in the golah then the life of Yaakov Avinu. His faith and fortitude throughout his exiles and tribulations provide us with the physical strength and spiritual stamina to endure our exile. In what may have been his most difficult test, Yaakov struggles all night with the sar shel Esav. Throughout the gloom of that night, (the paradigmatic darkness of galut) the angel is unable to inflict any harm on Yaakov until he is finally able to injure his thigh.
What enabled the angel to gain this advantage?
Sforno explains that Yaakov was able to withstand the onslaught of Esav’s agent because of his total spiritual unity with Hashem. Finally the angel distracted him by showing him that in the future there would be weaknesses in the leadership of Klal Yisroel. This unsettled Yaakov and the angel was able to inflict his injury.
My rebbe, Rav Henoch Liebowitz, Shlita ( Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivas Chofetz Chaim ) asked that one would think that there were far more horrifying events that occurred in Galut that would affect Yaakov. He could have showed him the inquisition, the Holocaust, the oceans of blood and tears given up by his descendants? Why is this the weapon that succeeded ?
He answered that regardless of the enormity of what befalls Klal Yisroel, as long as there is proper leadership there is hope. It is only, Chas V’Shalom, when leadership falters that hope is diminished. It was this possibility that disturbed Yakov and penetrated his Dveykut.
The leadership of our people is the critical determinant of overcoming the obstacles in our path. Klal Yisroel can always rebuild and recover when there is the leadership that inspires and unites to faithfully follow Torah and Mitzvot.”
** Rav Dovid Harris, Shlita, Rosh HaYeshiva Chofetz Chaim gave over this insight from his Rebbe in his hesped earlier today.