An atmosphere of elections is in the air. Different parties, sectors, rifts, desires. In this week’s Portion, Yaacov Avinu receives a new name: ISRAEL. The State of Israel, the People of Israel, the Land of Israel – all of these names start from that same event in which Jacob fought a whole night, and before dawn received his new name.
Israeli famous singer, Ehud Banai, once wrote a wonderful idea about this name change. This is an especially important reminder at a time when Israel is going to elections:
“One must notice that the name of the Nation and the State, ‘ISRAEL’, was given to Jacob when he was alone, without his wives and children, without his sheep and cattle, without his immense property, without being part of any religious current, without being part of any political party or social movement. From this we can learn a lesson for our times: we must place the emphasis much less on the social and political aspect that exists in religion, which is today the bigger part of the public argument in Israel, and we must pay more attention to the path of self correction that Judaism offers. When we say Shema Israel we cover our eyes with our hand, become disconnected from the noise in our environment, from the political arguments, from the commotion caused by the Media, from the need to belong to a certain current or to this or that political party, and we stand alone, fighting like Yaacov with our fear, waiting until a new sun of healing and consolation will shine upon us, a sun of a different inner consciousness, the same sun that finally shone upon Yaacov Avinu after he prevailed over himself in his struggle that night, and won the name ISRAEL.”