This week’s parashah, Va-Yeishev, opens, “And Jacob settled in the land of his father’s soujourns, in the land of Canaan.” (Genesis 37:1)
Jacob aimed to return to the land of his father in peace. Following his dramatic dream of angels going up and down from earth he prayed: “…if I come back in peace to my father's house…” (Genesis 28:21)
Rashi, one of the classic Medieval commentators imagined God’s response to Jacob’s settling: “Is it not enough for the righteous, what is prepared for them in the world to come, that they seek to settle in peace in this world?”
Doing the work, wrestling towards greater meaning and more righteous communities and society – these efforts can exhaust us even as we know we must continue them.
Even Jacob, named Israel the God wrestler, hoped that his struggle would end, that he could settle down and finally rest. Jacob’s life reminds us that the work to build and maintain family continues even as our families mature. As Jacob longed to settle, his adult sons misbehaved without his leadership, and his family spun out of control.
Let us rally each other to continue to make the efforts, to continue to strive. We continually discover the wisdom to help us do the work as long as we continue to wrestle.