“The voice is the voice of Jacob, but the hands are the hands of Esau.”

-Toldot 27:22

Our sages (Bereishit Rabba 65:20) comment on this verse that Esau has hands against the voice of Jacob. This means that when the ‘voice of Jacob’-i.e., the voice and sound of Torah-is heard, the ‘hands of Esau’-i.e., the threats of our enemies-have no power.

It is likewise in reverse: when the voice of Torah is weakened, the ‘hands of Esau’ may overcome. This has already come to pass with the destruction of Jerusalem, as stated by the prophet: “For what reason was the land lost?... Because they had forsaken My Torah...” (Jeremiah 9:11-12).

In our times, too, after the churban (destruction of the Holy Temple), Jerusalem’s existence depends on the study of Torah. To be sure, we cannot reverse the fact of the churban which has already occurred in the past. We can, however, eliminate the cause of the destruction and thus hasten the rebuilding and restoration of Jerusalem.

Our sages state, “Any generation in whose days the Beit Hamikdash (Holy Temple) is not rebuilt, it is reckoned against that generation as if it was destroyed in its time!” (Yerushalmi, Yoma 1:1) The churban thus is not simply an event that happened in the past. Its consequences extend to this very day, and the event, therefore, must be seen as something happening even now-as if the Beit Hamikdash is being destroyed this very moment. It follows, then, that it is our duty-and we do have the ability-to rid ourselves of the cause of the churban and to prevent its present recurrence. The study of Torah has this effect and will bring about the restoration of Jerusalem and the Beit Hamikdash by the speedy coming of Moshiach!