In one of the famous stories of our Torah, Jacob finds himself struggling throughout the night with a mysterious “man” who is much stronger than he. But Jacob refuses to let go of his adversary, demanding that he bless him. All night the struggle continues, Jacob is wounded, but refuses to let go. And finally he does receive the blessing and his name is changed to Yisrael, “the one who struggles with God.”
For me, that episode is one of the most important and telling in the entire Torah. For I believe that life really is all about our persisting against our personal adversities to cause our hopes and dreams to prevail.
Every baby struggles to be born and then struggles his way through the various stages if life. And as adults, we surely each know our share of struggles, and so especially those who are blessed to reach old age. Yes, regardless of our age, true living demands so much courage from each of us.
I like the statement by Maya Angelou: “Courage is the most important of all virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”
May we be blessed, most of all with courage, in this journey that is life.
Rabbi David Greenberg