We have suffered a very long golus and it is certainly not
over yet. We know that there were and are four major aspects
to the golus throughout the years, based on the vision in
Chanukah, when we experienced such great wonders and
miracles, was within the third golus, that of Yovon. It was
difficult. The Greeks launched an all-out assault on Klal
Yisroel, "and did not let them pursue Torah and mitzvos. And
they grabbed their money and their daughters and entered the
Sanctuary and made breaches there and defiled all the pure
things. And they oppressed Yisroel and put them under
tremendous pressure until the G-d of our fathers had mercy
on them and helped them and saved them" (Rambam, Hilchos
The oppression of the Greeks was very difficult, but it is
understandable. The Greeks had their ideology (an ideology
that has the enthusiastic endorsement of the yetzer
hora) and they wanted it to be dominant. They realized
that the Torah was not compatible with their ideology and
moreover was a great threat to it, so they tried to stop the
Torah. They made it illegal to study Torah and to practice
it. They also were interested in Jewish money and daughters
for the same reasons that so many people are interested in
these elements -- again with the enthusiastic backing of the
The fourth golus, identified with Eisov, is quite different.
It is "different from all the others" and "fearsome,
frightening and tremendously powerful" (Doniel
This fourth golus is identified with Eisov, and HaRav
Shamshon Rafael Hirsch describes the feeling of Yaakov as he
has to face Eisov (Bereishis 32:8). Our lives and our
fortunes are dependent on the whims of another, who cares
nothing about our happiness and our benefit. For us, we are
given over to a tyrant whose motives and behavior is
inscrutable. Yaakov can do no more than offer a gift, pray
to Hashem and humble himself before Eisov, hoping that in
the end Eisov will kiss him rather than bite him or worse.
He does not in fact know until the meeting itself what Eisov
will do, and even Eisov himself probably does not know in
advance what he will do.
There are no laws, and no reason. Eisov does not have
specific grievances that Yaakov can redress and thereby win
his pardon. It is blind, heartless, hateful opposition. If
Eisov kisses Yaakov at one meeting, it does not mean that
the next meeting will turn out as well.
It is in this condition that we find ourselves, "for
hundreds of years facing the nations of Eisov. This is the
condition that is called in the Tochochoh: Chamas Keri
(Vayikro 26:28) -- wanton chance." (HaRav Shamshon
Rafael Hirsch on Bereishis 32:8)
In our time of Ikvesa deMeshicha, increasingly over
the past century and especially since the end of the Second
World War, the Jewish People have been in regimes in which
this traditional Eisov approach has been abandoned.
Especially in America, but spreading throughout the world,
societies have followed laws that apply equally to all
citizens and people, the actions of states follow rules and
are the obvious results of rational decision making.
Now, suddenly, since Erev Rosh Hashana, we have faced
Chamas Keri again -- albeit propagated by Yishmoel
and not Eisov. The current Arab intifadah has no clear goals
and there is nothing that we can do to end it. (Israeli
leaders would certainly have done it, if they knew that
something could stop the violence.) Although most Jewish
residents of Eretz Yisroel are not directly involved in the
terrible events, yet all feel the threat and the
May we too be worthy of being saved as our forefathers were.
"Reveal Your holy arm and bring the final salvation near . .