When Jacob was wrestling with Esau’s angel, the Torah tells us: “And Jacob asked ... ‘Please tell me your name’.” And he (the angel) replied, ‘Why do you ask me my name?’ And he blessed him (the angel blessed Jacob) there.”
Jacob fought with the spiritual being which was the personification of Esau, which was also the personification of the evil inclination (the yetzer hara —the desire to follow after your desires rather than to do what is right). When Jacob was victorious, he asked the being for its name, but was told, “Why do you ask me my name?” This reply might appear to be a refusal to give a truthful answer. However, Rabbi Yehuda Leib Chasman explained that this was actually the name of the evil inclination: “Don’t ask!”
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Author: Zelig Pliskin
Keywords: Jabbok, Wrestling with God, Wrestling with an angel, Angel wrestling Jacob, Angel wrestles with Jacob, Wrestles with God, Wrestles with an angel, Wrestled with God, Wrestled with an angel, Jacob wrestles, Jacob's new name, Jacob's name change, Jacob becomes Israel, Yabbok, Wrestling, Wrestles, Esau, Esau is the Evil Inclination, Esau is the Yetzer Hara, Hara Yetzer, Ha-ra Yetzer, Hara Yezer, Hara Yetser, Ha-ra Yetser, Ha-ra Yezer, Esau Yetzer Hara, Esau Yezer Hara, Esau Yezer ha Ra, Esau Yetzer ha Ra, Jacob meets Esau, Jacob and Esau
Bible reference(s): Genesis 32:24-30
Source: “Dvar Torah,” Ohel David Eastern Synagogue bulletin, December 9, 2006.
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