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Battle of the Centuries
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Perpetuating our Jewish identity is a battle which will continue.

 

History was being. It was a moment of posterity. A fight of monumental proportions.

"And Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until the break of dawn. 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. And he [the angel] said, "Let me go, for dawn is breaking," but he [Jacob] said, "I will not let you go unless you have blessed me."  So he said to him, "What is your name?" and he said, "Jacob." And he said, "your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, because you have commanding power with [an angel of] God and with men, and you have prevailed." (Genesis 32: 25-29) 

Yaakov Avinu (our forefather Jacob) fought against the angel of Eisav (Esau). Yaakov won the fight, but he was maimed.

The stage has moved through place and time, but the script remains the same. Yaakov and Eisav are locked in battle. The identity of Yaakov, of the Jewish nation, is constantly being challenged. Our right to practice Judaism, to perpetuate generations of Jews, to marry within as opposed to without, is a battle that we Jews constantly fight.

It's a lone struggle. Fighting to preserve our identity is unique to the Jewish people.  We don't wish for others to be like us, and we don't put down those who are different, but alone we struggle to maintain our Jewish identity. It's a fight we have won over and over as we continuously survive against the odds. Throughout the generations we've faced many enemies. And yet we've persevered.

But we have been wounded. We aren't invincible. Though we remain strong as a nation on an individual level we've been maimed. Many Jews have been lost throughout the generations. Many of our brothers have disappeared to the touch of Eisav. Whether through the sword or assimilation, the Jewish nation has become "dislocated" many times.

Perpetuating our Jewish identity is a battle which will continue. The fight against Eisav will carry on even as the theater continues to move. Until dawn breaks and the ultimate redemption is revealed.

But we are not truly alone. Yaakov's victory ensured us of that. The name Yisroel was bestowed upon him by the angel and in this name the name of God (El) is included. He has been with us throughout the centuries and continues to be with us in all of our struggles. And He reaps pleasure every time that we persevere.

 

Translated and adapted by Chaya Sara Ben Shachar


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