Tidbits of Torah

Wrestling with our Angels

Shabbat Parashat VaYishlach

December 17, 2016 – 17 Kislev 5777

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This week’s Torah portion includes the fascinating story of Jacob wrestling with an angel.

What insights might we gain by reading this story?

Is there some insight into Jacob’s life that we might gain by reading and re-reading this story each year? Or, might we be able to gain a new level of understanding about ourselves as we reflect on this story?

In search of just such an insight, we might ask: Is Jacob the only one to wrestle with an angel? Personally, I doubt it!

How many of us have “wrestled with an angel” in life? Perhaps not literally. Nevertheless, the question is relevant to many of us. As you may recall, at the beginning of our story in the parsha, the Torah tells us that Jacob met a man and wrestled with him. Only later is that man referred to as an angel….By telling the Biblical story in that way, the Torah is inviting us to ask: How many of us have experienced the unexpected presence of a person in our lives – one who challenges our very understanding of ourselves?

How many of us have come through such an experience with a “limp,” as did Jacob? How many of us have come through such an experience with a blessing, as did Jacob?

So, what do you make of the story of Jacob’s wrestling with an angel? Can you think back to some experience in your life that is more meaningful in light of this week’s Biblical story?

Shabbat Shalom!

Rabbi Gilah Dror