The Sun Will Come Out by Avi Wollman

(2004/5765) After Yaakov Avinu’s nighttime fight with an angel, the
Torah states, “The sun rose and shined upon him” (Bereshit 32:32).
The Gemara in Chulin (91b) relates the story when Rabi Akiva went
with Rabi Yehoshua and Rabban Gamliel to buy meat for the latter’s
son’s wedding. Rabi Akiva asked the others, “Did the sun just shine
for Yaakov? Did it not shine for everyone?” Rabbi Yitzchak
explained, “The sun that set for him shined for him.” What exactly is
the Gemara discussing here? Furthermore, why did the Gemara
deem it necessary to include the seemingly superfluous background
information of time and place?
The Menachem Tzion provides an ingenious and
enlightening answer to this intriguing question. He points out a
profound quality of Rabi Akiva. He calls attention to the fact that
Rabi Akiva lived during the time of the destruction of the second Beit
Hamikdash, a time of gloom, misery, and hopelessness. Yet, Rabi
Akiva, upon seeing a fox amongst the ruins of the Beit Hamikdash,
started laughing, despite the mourning of his peers. He explained to
them that seeing this fox confirmed one prophecy concerning the
Beit Hamikdash’s destruction, so he could now be sure that the
other prophecies, the promises of redemption from exile, would also
be fulfilled.
These Rabbanim lived during a time of Roman oppression
when Jews were persecuted and killed. Rabi Akiva could tell that
Rabban Gamliel was troubled, asking himself why he should even
bother to marry off his son. After all, it all might only result in him
watching a grandchild die at the hands of the Roman Empire. In
order to raise the spirits of Rabban Gamliel, Rabi Akiva reminded
him of this Pasuk. In last week’s Parsha, Yaakov found himself in a
state of extreme troubles and difficulties. He was exhausted
and stressed from fleeing his brother and surviving Lavan,
while still remaining penniless. This was the setting of the
sun, the dark time in the life of Yaakov Avinu. Now, however,
he has built himself up, raised his family, greatly improved his
financial situation, and come to a state of full spiritual health.
This is what is meant by the rising of the sun. It is the
daytime which eventually clears away the nighttime struggle,
even though it sometimes seems like an eternity before the
day shines out. Rabi Akiva was telling Rabban Gamliel that
just as it had done in the past for Yaakov, the “sun” would
again rise in their time of darkness and save the day.
Often we find ourselves or our colleagues in times
when the sun seems to have set and life has become dark.
However, one must have faith in the future rising of the sun,
living life with a perseverant and positive attitude. It is equally
important to keep an eye on our friends, and to be perceptive
as to when they have fallen into their own personal times of
darkness. We must give them reassurance and support,
reminding them that they will pull through and see that shining
hopeful light of day which they have been persistently working

Ma’asei Avot Siman Lebanim by Dov Rossman

The Need for Blessing by Ms. Rochi Lerner – Science Department