Wrestling with Yourself
by Bob Schwartz
Jacob Wrestles All Night with an Angel or with God
Yaakov is left alone, and a man wrestles
With him until daybreak.
When the man sees he has not won against Yaakov,
He strikes him on the hip socket,
And as he wrestles with him
Yaakov’s hip comes out of joint.
Then he says, “Let me go. Dawn is breaking.”
But Yaakov says, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
So he tells him, “What is your name?”
And he answers, “Yaakov.”
And he says, “You shall no longer be called Yaakov, but Yisrael,
For you have fought with God and men
And you have won.”
And Yaakov tells him, saying, “Please tell me your name.”
But he says, “Why are you after my name?”
And there he blesses him.
And Yaakov names the place Penuel, saying,
“I have seen God face to face and I am alive.”
The sun rises over them
But Yaakov is limping because of his hip.
Therefore, the children of Yisrael
Do not eat the thigh muscle of the hip
Because he (the nameless) struck Yaakov
On the socket of his hip.
Willis Barnstone, Poets of the Bible