09 September 2012

9/11 Anniversary

23 Elul 5772

Today is the eleventh anniversary of 9/11 according to the Hebrew calendar.

Supposedly the name "Uncle Sam," referring to the United States, comes from the two initial letters (US). But, it really has a much deeper meaning. "Sam" is also the name of Eisav's ministering angel, who also just happens to be the Angel of Death and the Yetzer Hara.

SAMAEL (pronounced Sam-kel when spoken)

Prince of the demons, and an important figure both in Talmudic and in post-Talmudic literature, where he appears as accuser, seducer, and destroyer. His name is etymologized as = "the venom of God," since he is identical with the angel of death (Targ. Yer. to Gen. iii. 6; see also Death, Angel of), who slays men with a drop of poison....

As the incarnation of evil he is the celestial patron of the sinful empire of Rome, with which Edom and Esau are identified (Tan. on Gen. xxxii. 35; Jellinek, l.c. vi. 31, 109, etc.). He flies through the air like a bird (Targ. to Job xxviii. 7), and, while the ḥayyot and ofannim have only six wings, he has twelve, and commands a whole army of demons (Pirḳe R. El. xiii.). In so far as he is identified with the serpent ("J. Q. R." vi. 12), with carnal desire (Yeẓer ha-Ra'), and with the angel of death, all legends associated with Satan refer equally to him, while as a miscreant he is compared to Belial ( = "worthless"; ....)

All these descriptions of Samael show that he was regarded simply as the principle of evil that brought upon Israel and Judah every misfortune that befell them. Even at the creation of the world he was Lucifer, who ever sought evil and who began his malignant activity with Adam. His opponent is Michael, who represents the beneficent principle, and who frequently comes into conflict with him ....
(Read more from the Jewish Encyclopedia)

It was this angel with whom Yaaqov Avinu wrestled on his return to Eretz Yisrael:

...Who indeed was this malach who had come to do battle with Yaakov? Rashi quotes Chazal (our Sages) who identify him as "Saro shel Eisav - the ministering angel of Eisav. (Bereishis Rabbah 77:3; Midrash Tanchuma 8)" The struggle, commentators explain, was not a simple wrestling match.

...Eisav is the antithesis of everything holy and ethical. His ministering angel, thus, represents the forces of evil that do battle with the Yaakov's of the world, attempting to draw the righteous from the just path, and entice them to forsake their spiritual assets in favour of material trappings and ambitions. (Parshas Vayishlach @ Torah.org)

(Read more here.)

The World Trade Center was the physical representation of "material trappings and ambition" in a city which represents all of that for the whole world. The fall of the Twin Towers was the physical representation of the spiritual fall of Eisav's ministering angel and the ultimate collapse of materialism as a power. It began with the launching of the war in Afghanistan on Hoshanah Rabbah 5762 and proceeded to the War in Iraq and until today when the US and Europe are teetering on bankruptcy.

Eisav's ministering angel climbed so high up the ladder that the only way to come back down was to fall. And although it doesn't look much like it from where we are standing, that day the power of Yisrael began to rise.


  1. thank you for always sharing your thoughts. I am a fan of your blog. Always enjoy reading what you have to say.

  2. I just call 'em as I see 'em. Thanks for the encouragement. Shanah tovah!