Thursday, December 13, 2012

Gid haNasheh


The third biblical Mitzvah is the instruction that descendants of Yaakov may not eat the sciatic neurovascular bundle (Gid haNasheh) of certain animals. This memorializes Yaakov’s battle against his brother, Esav; a being representing Esav fought with Yaakov, and succeeded in wounding Yaakov in that part of the body.

The Rambam (commentary to Chullin, Perek 7) noted that although this mitzvah pre-dated the presentation of the Torah at Sinai, it binds all generations of Jews only because the prohibition was reiterated in the Torah we received at Sinai. The same applies to all pre-Sinai mitzvot, such as circumcision.

This mitzvah certainly teaches a lesson that is relevant for all generations. As the Sefer haChinuch explained, this mitzvah reminds us that just as Esav’s representative wounded Yaakov but could not defeat him, so our own enemies may be able to wound us, but they will never be able to destroy us.

חג אורים שמח,

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