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Jacob or Israel? by Prof. Gerald August by Rabbi Simcha Weinberg





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Jacob or Israel? by Prof. Gerald August by
Article Posted: 12/23/2010
Article Views: 332
Articles Written: 121
Word Count: 478
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Jacob or Israel? by Prof. Gerald August


 
Judaism,Self Improvement,Spiritual
Jacob or Israel? Israel or Jacob? Which name is the real name of this son of Isaac and Rebecca?

Jacob wrestled with himself and was named Israel. The name change happened only after he overcame his will to run. A trait he exhibited with Laban and Esau. So he was given a name that means he had the power to struggle and overcome.

But look at the trials and tribulations Jacob went through after this episode. His daughter was raped. Think of his anguish and anger. He feared for the safety of his family after Shimon and Levi took revenge.

Then he witnessed the discord between Joseph and the rest of his sons. After sending Joseph to be with his brothers, he was told his favorite son was killed. His grief was such that Jacob said, “ I will mourn for him until I go into my grave.”

Immediately he loses another son. Judah leaves home for many years. Jacob never met his daughter-in-law or grandsons.

Then a famine struck the land. Returning from Egypt, his sons told him a ruler of Egypt demanded Benjamin, now his favorite, must come with them if they ever returned for food.

Jacob was a rich man. So what? He was constantly in crisis! What sorrow he suffered.

But now, it is the end of his life and he has overcome the struggles. He saw them through. He did not commit suicide. He did not crawl into a corner and cease functioning.

And now once again he is Israel. He has prevailed. He overcame the challenges life threw at him.

We are all potential Israels. We all have obstacles. They could be physical, mental, social or financial. And the challenge is to overcome them. And yes, to achieve our goals

We have to look at a situation and say, “This is what is. What do I do to handle this?

At each point in our life, when we emerge victorious, we too can award ourselves a new name. Israel.

But that Israel lived 3700 years ago. What about today? Who will be our role model today? My answer is…you!!

We have all have overcome problems. Think of school. Even if you were a good student, there were still goals to be met. After school, there were the challenges of the new job, a promotion, a difficult manager, or the loss of a position. If you are married, there may have been times that were tough. Or maybe, unfortunately there was a divorce. Relationships with friends and family may not always have been smooth. Yet you’re here today.

Think of four situations when you faced adversity. The time frame could be days or weeks or years. And you came out of it. Celebrate yourself. You went from a Jacob time to an Israel time.

Remember: sometimes YOU are your best role model.

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