The Rope of Jacob

by Rabbi Yisrael Kaniel – September 24, 2012

In the Torah section of HaAzinu, among Moses’ parting floral admonition and foretelling of the future of the Children of Israel whom he led through the desert, we read (Devarim 32:9), “For G-d’s portion is His people; [the children of] Jacob is the portion [literally “rope”] of His possession.”

As regards this allusion to a rope, we find an intriguing comment by the Chassidic master R. Moshe of Kovrin, cited on the above verse in Ma’ayana shel Torah.

R. Moshe of Kovrin notes that, when a rope is prepared, intertwining many strings into one thick rope, even if some of the strings making up the rope are weak or damaged, it is not perceptible.  Not only are these weak or damaged strings not perceived, they actually add to the overall strength of the entire rope.  Similarly, in comparing the Children of Israel to a rope, the Torah is telling us that when the different members of our people are intertwined and united together, then even the weaker ones strengthen the nation as a whole.

Our people are made up of various sectors and backgrounds: Ashkenazim, Sephardim, Chasidim, those who grew up in the United States, Canada, France, Brazil, Argentina, Israel, Australia, Russia and England, Yemenites, Moroccans, different Chassidic groups.  There are various different ways of looking at things amongst our people and no shortage of disagreements in approach.  Nevertheless, as long as we are united in caring for each other, despite our disagreements, our people as a whole can thrive.  As long as we do not “write off” any group or individuals, and consider ourselves all intertwined, then our nation can be strengthened as a whole.

We must all remain intertwined in the rope of Jacob, for the sake of all of the descendents of our forefather Jacob as a whole and every single individual member of our people in particular.  This is an important message offered to us by one of the Jewish greats of yesteryear, based on the aforementioned verse, an important message for all us to keep in mind for the future – for our future.

May we all learn to be united in caring for each other: weaker or stronger, more intelligent or less intelligent, fully correct in approach or lacking.  May we be fully united and keep the rope of Jacob strong, for us and our children after us.