כו. וַיַּרְא כִּי לֹא יָכֹל לוֹ וַיִּגַּע בְּכַף יְרֵכוֹ וַתֵּקַע כַּף יֶרֶךְ יַעֲקֹב בְּהֵאָבְקוֹ עִמּוֹ
26. “When he saw that he could not prevail against him, he touched the socket of his hip, and the socket of Jacob’s hip became dislocated as he wrestled with him.” (32:26)
The Yalkut Reuveni writes: “He saw that he couldn’t beat him, so he hit the socket of his hip” - He (Esav’s angel) set his eyes on the descendants of Yaakov; this refers to Nadav and Aviyhu.
This Yalkut needs simple understanding. Why couldn’t the angel beat Yaakov because of Nadav and Aviyhu and what is the connection between them?
The Divrei Yosef explains with a hint of genius: Esav’s angel fought with Yaakov over the brachos that Yitzchak had blessed him. When Yitzchak blessed Yaakov, his intention was to bless Esav as the pasukim in P’Toldos explain. However, in actual fact, Yaakov received the blessings from his father. So the “machshavah” (thought) indicated that Esav should receive the brachos, however the “ma’aseh” (action) indicated that Yaakov should receive the brachos. This was the argument between Yaakov and the angel of Esav.
Regarding the sin of the egel (golden calf), Rashi writes that because Aharon sinned, his two oldest children; Nadav and Aviyhu, died. However, in Vayikra (32,5), Rashi writes that Aharon only took part in the egel to stall the rest of Bnei Yisroel, but he was still punished eventually.
Over there, Aharon’s intentions were good, but the actions themselves seemed bad, and overall he lost Nadav and Aviyhu, so we see that when “machshavah” and “ma’aseh” clash, we go after the “ma’aseh.”
If so, from Nadav and Aviyhu we have a proof that Yaakov was right, and he received the blessings from his father, because “actions speak louder than words.”
This is the pshat in the Yalkut, once Esav’s angel saw the death of Nadav and Aviyhu, he realised that he couldn’t beat Yaakov, because Yaakov was right, therefore he had to dislocate Yaakov’s hip socket.
The Yalkut asked, why did the angel especially hit Yaakov on his “kaf yeracho”?
He answers that the angel set his eyes on the “yotzei yerachoi” of Yaakov (those that stemmed from Yaakov’s loins); these are Nadav and Aviyhu. Therefore he specifically hit Yaakov at that spot.
The question is, what do Nadav and Aviyhu have to do with this fight, why does the passuk say that “he saw he couldn’t beat him” because of them? And the Divrei Yosef explains their interference in this fight, and this caused the angel to lose to Yaakov.