The Commit

O holy Shabbes Inspiration Vayishlach
Maqam Saba,

in which Peniel, the face of God, becomes the site of a wrestle,
Jacob the heel becomes Yisrael
the God wrestler
Yakov to Yisrael transformed —
the limp a sign.

No longer will it be said that your name is Jacob but Israel
for you have striven sarita im Elohim
wrestled with God
and with human beings
and have overcome. [Gen.32:29]

The root sin resh heh used only one other time in this form
in the entire Hebrew Bible.
Yisrael hundred of times —

but the verb form, this form, is used twice,
here and in Hosea.
What gives?
The one who strives wrestles with God?
Why don’t we find it everywhere as a verb?
Jacob the only wrestler with God in the Bible?
I don’t think so.

We are all wrestlers with God
we are all of us
all the time
going to the mat with Hashem.
All of us striving struggling wrestling
so let’s not pay too much attention to that
Jacob doesn’t
sometimes Jacob
sometimes Israel
he is both.

Here’s the deal:
Can a person overcome character
the capacity to transform
to change so radically that what formerly defines
now limits, can someone shed old skin acquire a new name
limp away from the confrontation bearing
the mark of transformation in his walk?
He does, Mr. Sometimes Jacob Sometimes Israel —
we do –that’s always the point.

The price for transformation —
your angel or your demon beckons you into the ring
lets you know you won’t be getting out
a fight.

jsg, usa