Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher, Dean of Students and Senior Lecturer at Diaspora Yeshiva, is not only a popular speaker and teacher, but also a dynamic thinker and writer. A student of Harav Yaakov Kamenetsky and Harav Gedalia Schorr, Rabbi Sprecher was granted smicha (rabbinical ordination) by Torah Vodaath Yeshiva. Prior to his current position, Rabbi Sprecher was a professor of Judaic studies at Touro College in New York. In addition to his duties at Diaspora Yeshiva, Rabbi Sprecher writes a regular column on various Judaic topics in the Jewish Press, and lectures regularly at the OU Israel Center in Jerusalem.
The Two Faces of Yaacov
Published: Wednesday, November 22, 2017 07:36:47 PM
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According to the Midrash Bereshit Raba 66, Yaacov’s image is engraved on G-d’s Heavenly Throne. In Yaacov’s dream, angels ascended the ladder to look on Yaacov’s image on the Heavenly Throne, and then descended the ladder to look on Yaacov on Earth. The angels were amazed at how both images were identical. Rav Soloveitchik explains, that when a person sins, his external personality deviates from his pure, inner self.

However, because Yaacov was without sin, the faces of the ideal Yaacov engraved on the Heavenly Throne and the physical Yaacov on Earth were exactly the same.

Why did G-d engrave Yaacov’s face on the Heavenly Throne and not Avraham’s face or Yitzchak’s face? Rav Soloveitchik answers, because the face of Yaacov is not simply the image of an individual, it is the image of the Jewish People.

Yaacov, more than Avraham or Yitzchak, represents the entire nation of Israel. Yaacov’s face engraved on the Heavenly Throne, demonstrates that the covenant between Israel and G-d is permanent and eternal. It is not a temporary covenant that was concluded and then abandoned when the Jewish people sinned and were exiled from Eretz Yirsael.

G-d’s Heavenly Throne symbolizes permanence and eternity. As Tehillim 93 states “Your Throne stands firm from eternity; You, G-d, exist eternally.” Just like G-d and His Heavenly Throne exist eternally so too do the Jewish People exist eternally. This idea is what the Midrash means when it states that Yaacov’s image is engraved on G-d’s Heavenly Throne, which symbolizes eternity.

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