Short Vort: The Nameless Enemy
On the eve of his fateful confrontation with his brother Esav, Jacob is forced into an unexpected struggle with a nameless man. When Jacob finally overpowers him, he asks the man to identify himself. He responds by saying that his name is of no consequence. Why the need to shroud his identity in mystery? Our tradition identifies this "man" as an angelic force symbolic of Jacob's inner spiritual struggle. 

Often in life we play the blame game. We seek scapegoats for why we are unable to attain our potential. But to blame others, we need an address - we need a name.  The angel refused to disclose that information and questioned why it even mattered. In truth, it didn't. The objective of life is to build our own name and not to divert our attention to the names of others.  

It is no coincidence that once Jacob accepts this response his own name is elevated to Yisrael. In the end, the only name he needed to search for was his own. May we have the focus and perspective to do the same.

Shabbat Shalom, Rabbi Daniel Green