Friday, December 16, 2016

Shabbat Around the Table -- Vayishlach

Jacob famously wrestles with one of God's messenger's in this week's parsha, Vayishlach. After the nighttime encounter , an angel renames Jacob Israel, which means,"you have struggled with God."  

The Jewish people have also historically been known as the people of Israel, which refers less to the modern state and more to our ancestor Jacob/Israel. Just as Jacob struggled with God that night long ago, we continue to struggle with God as we try to make sense of this world, our place in it , and our role in making it a better place.

Anything that is worth doing is worth struggling over. Most things that are worth doing, that are important, are hard. When our children struggle, with sharing, tying their shoes, or building a chanukiah six feet tall, they are doing something important. They are learning, which is certainly worth doing. When we don't allow our children to struggle, when we try to help them so that they don't experience frustration, we take away their opportunity to learn. It's hard to see our children struggling, but it's important that we let them.

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