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ב"ה

👋 Bye Bye Struggle 👋

Friday, 26 November, 2021 - 7:29 am

I imagined I woke up one morning and the struggle was gone. I just naturally jumped out of bed with a positive attitude.  I went about my morning studies, prayer and exercise regime without hesitation and with a jump in my step. I was kind to my wife and children saying and doing all the right things with sensitivity and purpose.

I went to work and was empathetic to others and their struggles. I performed at work exactly as expected.  I had the right balance between G-d, work, play and family. 

It sounded fun for a while and I enjoyed the dream. And then I realized that it would get old quickly.  The joie de vivre would be lost as the tension in my world disappeared. 

But then I imagined again and hoped for a day here or there of no struggle, a break of sorts.

And then I realized in real time that I was in middle of my morning services and the words were swimming in front of my in the prayer book.

Last week after Jacob struggles with the Angel his name is changed to Yisroel/Israel – as to say; You have struggled and have prevailed/mastered (Sar) with Man and G-d (El – angels). But yet, we find in the Torah and in fact in this week Parsha that he is again called Jacob.

(When G-d changes Abraham and Sara’s name from Avram and Sarai to Avrohom and Sara, we no longer find the Torah referring to them in their old name.)

The reason for this is that we all possess a Jacob and Israel personality.  Jacob the struggler, Israel the master.  Jacob is the tension that we possess.  It is shaped by our genetics, upbringing and choices. We can never fully escape it and so our name remains Jacob.  But we have the power within ourselves to prevail and overcome, to have those moments of reprieve and mastery, to be Israel.

The knowledge of this empowers us to not become despondent when we find ourselves running ragged when we experience challenge after challenge and struggle after struggle (Jacob).  We can know that we can rise above it and prevail (Israel) even if it is only for a short while.

It’s good to dream and imagine a time of reprieve, it’s also good to realize that struggle is what gives life its depth and meaning.

I hope you have a restful, reprieve-ful Shabbos and Thanksgiving!

With blessing,

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

P.S. My thanks to my brother Eliyahu of Chabad Intown Atlanta for letting me use his weekly blog article (with minor edits)

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