As we look to Yom Kippur, I think of the patriarch, Jacob, who wrestled throughout a long night with a mysterious man. We don’t know the identity of that man; only that he was initially stronger than Jacob, and that Jacob refused to give up the struggle until he received a blessing from the man.
It’s a profound account given what we know about Jacob. Many years earlier he had been a cheater and a scoundrel who stole the coveted parental blessing from his brother and his father. At that time, he was anything but a worthy patriarch of this people, and I believe that the struggle throughout the night was one where Jacob was struggling for the worthiness and self-esteem that would make him deserving of that blessing. And in the end, Jacob does prevail, but not without a physical wound that he would carry throughout his life.
I see that account as a metaphor for all of us as we confront the challenges of life, as for all of us, we’ve all got both light and dark inside us. But what matters is the part that we choose to act on. That is who we really are.
Whatever our personal challenges, Yom Kippur summons us to look within to find the strength and courage to persist in our quest for life in the fullest and richest sense. So may it be that we find inner renewal and a sense of promise for all that we can yet be. For life is too short to be too little.