1:17 But on Tzion’s mount a remnant shall survive.
Ovadya uses the same Hebrew word, playta (פליטה), ‘remnant,’ that Yaakov originally used to describe his confrontation with his brother: “If Esau comes to the one camp and attacks it, the other camp may yet escape (playta)” (Genesis 32:9). When the same Hebrew word is used to describe unrelated events, this means that the Tanakh is alluding to a deep connection between them. Ovadya is invoking the great confrontation between Yaakov and Esau to describe the final encounter between the Jews and their enemies, and teaching us the ultimate secret to the survival of Yaakov’s descendants, the Jewish people. When the European Jewish community realized the grave danger Hitler posed, they found solace in the words of the Tanakh and recognized that “on Tzion’s mount a remnant shall survive.” The saintly Rabbi Israel Meir Kagen (1839-1933), known as the Chofetz Chaim, told his students that the survival of the Jewish people would be through the Land of Israel. In fact, the great Ponevezh Yeshiva in Bnei Brak, one of the largest centers of Torah study in the world, has this verse etched on its front wall, reminding its students never to forget that Tzion is the only refuge from persecution and the wrath of Esau.