Dreamer's Refuge

A Student of Sense and Nonsense

Jacob, Esau’s Angel and the Yetzer hara

Had an interesting thought on this from the Jewish Bible, the Torah, as I was in shul today.

From a Jungian/Kabbalistic perspective, the Angel Jacob struggled with, has a few interpretations. One is that it was his shadow, or from a Jewish perspective the Yetzer hara; two is that it was the guardian Angel/Spirit of Esau.

Esau, who was later called Edom, and his offspring are the fathers of Rome, and ultimately the Western culture. (Magdiel and Iram)

“The chief of Magdiel and the chief of Iram.” (Gen. 36:43)


G‑d told Abraham that the Jewish people would be subjugated over the course of history by four kingdoms. The final subjugation, which immediately precedes the messianic age, will be under Rome.(Bereishit Raba 44:20) Our present exile is seen as an extension of the Roman subjugation, since culturally and legally western civilization shares the values and worldview of ancient Rome. It may be divided into two eras, Magdiel and Iram, both of which refer to Rome.(See Nachmanides on this verse.)


Magdiel, which connotes “towering over G‑d,” refers to the first era of the Roman exile, during which Rome actively opposed G‑dliness. However, through the refinement of the descendants of Esau during the exile, the loftiness (“Rome” in Hebrew means lofty!) of “Rome” is revealed. This will lead to the era of Iram.


Iram, whom the Midrash (Bereishit Raba 83:4) describes as gathering treasures for the Messiah, refers to the time when “Rome” will no longer battle G‑d but will in fact use its “treasures,” i.e., its resources, to contribute to the unfolding of the messianic era.

SOurce: Chabad

Taken from an esoteric perspective/interpenetration, the case can be made that Jacob, who is the embodiment of Israel and the Jewish people, struggles with the spirit of the West, or the Western culture; is wounded, but is ultimately victorious. For his victory he is blessed by the Angel and given the name of Israel; That, in a way, tells the story of the Jewish people in the current time. The Jews were scattered among the Western nations ultimately by Rome; the danger of that is integration/assimilation/secularization, we came out of it physically wounded and psychologically scared, etc, but from that struggle, reformed and reborn (on May 14, 1948, thanks to the West, and now mostly America) is Israel, again a nation of the Jewish people.

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