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Parsha Vayishlach

Struggle is required to survive life. In struggle, we learn how to overcome eventuality. In struggle, we learn to grow. From struggle, we carve out the path of success. Never shy off struggle. Make it a tool of your strength and confidence. -- Dr Amil Kumar Sinha

As Ya'akov comes back to the Land of Israel, as he returns to his home this week, we can almost feel his anticipation. He has been gone for twenty long years. In that time he has gotten married (four times), had eleven children, and amassed enourmous material wealth. However, before he can settle quietly down for the rest of his life before he can resume the idyllic existence of our forefathers in the Land of Canaan, he has one last fight, one last struggle.

Ya'akov encounters an angel on his way across the river. Who is this angel? What does he want? Our traditional features many answers to this question. Perhaps the most surprising is that it is, in fact, a reflection of himself. Ya'akov has already triumphed over his duplicitous uncle. He has already made a great deal of money for himself. And he has already built his family. However, he has not yet contended with those parts of himself that he does not like. He has not yet learnt to accept himself, to live with himself. He has not yet learnt to constantly strive to improve, without constantly striving to be someone different.

As people, we are called upon to grow and develop, but we cannot change to someone we are not, nor should we. We aspire to constantly be better, and yet, we must also learn to be proud of ourselves and to love ourselves. Ya'akov finds himself at this very nexus, and before he can continue on his journey before he can return to the land of his youth, he must learn the balance between constant struggle on the other hand, and internal peace on the other. His struggle is all of our struggle, and it is through this tension that ultimately, we push through and accomplish what we set out to do.

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