The Kli Yakar points out that sometimes, the Jewish people are compared to stars, and sometimes to sand of the seashore, and sometimes even to dust: “Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth” (Beresheit 28:14).
Stars represent greatness, both in quantity and longevity.
He says, “The waves rise up as if they wish to engulf the whole world, but as soon as they reach the sand, they break.”
The Kli Yakar further explains: “Sand corresponds to the times when the nations rise up against Yisrael to destroy them.”
Yet he says that not only will the nations ultimately be unable to prevail over the Jewish people, but the Jewish people will prevail over their enemies.
So dust corresponds to times of degradation for Am Yisrael.
The Kli Yakar remarks: “The reason for this is that Yisrael does not sincerely seek God except at a time when they are in complete degradation. This is well-known from the ways of past generations as well as today’s generation.”
So don’t despair!
Our lowliest state is precisely what gives us the ability to rise.
It’s a wonderful book with beautifully readable Hebrew and English fonts that include the Torah text, Rashi, and the Kli Yakar in Hebrew alongside Rabbi Levine’s marvelous translation of the Kli Yakar in English. It is footnoted with outside sources and explanations of what the Kli Yakar mentions in his commentary. The Kli Yakar’s style and Rabbi Levine’s translation are also conducive to just sitting down and reading it through.
Unfortunately, only Bereishit I, Shemot I, and Shemot II are available in English, but I highly recommend it. It’s available at Feldheim and Ohr Hachaim and I don’t know where else.
What I post here is only a drop of the beautiful insights and lessons the Kli Yakar presents.
Rabbi Shlomo Ephraim of Luntschitz (1550-1619) lived in Bohemia (which is today Poland and Czechoslovakia). He served as rabbi and dayan and wrote several books, the most well-known being his commentary on the Chumash known as the Kli Yakar.