jacob wrestle

This weeks Old Testament (Torah) portion reading from the book of Genesis is called “and he sent.” The title comes from the first verse of the reading, which says, “Then Jacob sent messengers before him to his brother Esau in the land of Seir, the country of Edom” (Genesis 32:3). Jacob prepares to meet Esau as he returns, but first he has a mysterious encounter with an angel in the darkness, who changes Jacobs name to Israel. And so it is, Jacob experienced a strange mystical encounter with the Force that moves through ALL things. He had sent his family, his servants and his possessions across the river ahead of him. But he struggled with the Force of Creation before he could cross the river. This is symbolic of the necessity of each of us to struggle with our existence and the Force of Creation. It is through this struggle that we become conscious of our connection and oneness with the Force of Creation. It is only through the struggle that we can cross the river and find our Promised Land (Inner Peace). The struggle , while it makes us aware of our connection and oneness with Creator, it also makes us grateful for our separateness and each individual little thing that life brings us. And so it is the paradox and beauty of human existence. Jacob wrestled with the angel through the night. He would not let the angel go. Jacob said to the angel, “I will not let you go unless you bless me” (Genesis 32:26) The struggle with the angel blessed Jacob by changing his consciousness and symbolically his name to Israel. This signifies his changed consciousness through the struggle and his finding his Promised Land (Inner Peace) (Genesis 35:10). As the portion explains, in its symbolism, the Promised Land is not a place but it is a state of consciousness of our Oneness with Creator as well as gratefulness for our brief separateness through our human existence. This consciousness brings us peace. Amen