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"Wrestling With The Angel, And Sometimes Ourselves"

In this week’s Torah portion, we encounter our forefather Jacob on the verge of facing his disgruntled brother Esau. The Torah recounts that the night before their confrontation, Jacob secluded himself from his family and spent the night in solitude. It is mentioned

that he grappled with someone throughout the entire night, lasting until the break of dawn.

Who was this "man" that Jacob wrestled with all night? The text remains notably ambiguous, referring to him simply as "the man," yet attributing divine qualities to him later on. He even states, "You will no longer be called Jacob but instead Israel, because you have struggled with divine and human beings and have prevailed." Some interpret this as Jacob wrestling metaphorically with himself.

Jacob's experience on that fateful evening could symbolize the notion that, at times of stress and anxiety, we engage in a metaphorical struggle within ourselves. Mentally, we grapple with the very issues affecting us now, losing sleep and fretting over prevailing problems. How many sleepless nights have been spent worrying about a spouse, child, friend, or coworker? How many restless evenings have been consumed by concerns over significant life decisions?

The text doesn't explicitly reveal what aided Jacob in overcoming the struggles of that night. Perhaps it was prayers to God or thoughts of his family being endangered without him. Regardless, in the end, Jacob endured. What supports you through your difficult nights?

Shabbat Shalom.


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