Dvar Torah – by Steven Mills

וַיִּשְׁאַל יַעֲקֹב וַיֹּאמֶר הַגִּידָה נָּא שְׁמֶךָ וַיֹּאמֶר לָמָּה זֶּה
תִּשְׁאַל לִשְׁמִי

“And Jacob asked and said, “Now tell me your name,” and he said, “Why is it that you ask for my name?” ”
Parsha – Vayishlach
Genesis 32:30

In this intriguing, esoteric passage, Jacob wrestles with an angel at night.
He asks the Angel for his name, and the Angel responds by asking Yaakov why he’s asking.

What does this mean?

Rabbi Chaim Dov Keller gives the following explanation.
Many commentators understand Jacob’s struggle to be symbolic of man’s fight with the Yetzer Hara, the Evil Inclination.  By asking for the angel’s name, Jacob is trying to understand the very essence of the Yetzer Hara, so he can more easily defeat it and forewarn his descendants.
The angel responds however by saying “There’s no point asking my name, that’s not going to help you to know me better. My mission is to test people, and to do this I change form in every generation. Telling you my name now will not help your descendants in the future.”

The Yetzer Hara does not remain constant. In one generation it may be tempting us to do idol worship.  In another it might be trying to persuade us to over-indulge in materialism.
We need to constantly be on our guard against an ever-changing enemy.

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