Parshat Vayishlach – D’var Torah for Camp Ramah Canada

Our parsha this week tells of the transformation of an individual, our forefather Jacob. This personal transformation also lays the foundation for the creation of a people, Israel. The Torah teaches that Jacob was left alone in the dark when an angel wrestled with him until the break of dawn. When Jacob’s adversary saw that he had not prevailed against him, he dislocated Jacob’s hip at its socket. He then pleaded that Jacob let him go, but Jacob would not let him go until he was blessed. At this point our ancestor’s name is altered from “Jacob” to “Israel.”

During the course of a summer at Camp Ramah (and throughout several summers as well) campers experience a personal transformation much like Jacob. Many campers find that Camp Ramah is a comfortable venue for wrestling with one’s Jewish identity. The summer is a time for self-discovery and renewal. It is a time for both campers and staff to engage in the opportunities and challenges of wrestling with God and matters of faith and spirituality. May we all celebrate in the blessing of our children who have the Ramah experience to struggle, seek, change, and grow. Perhaps it is truly during the summer that our future generations show us the path from simply being like Jacob, lonlely strugglers, to becoming Israel, our holy community.

(c) Rabbi Jason Miller | http://blog.rabbijason.com | Twitter: @RabbiJason | facebook.com/rabbijasonmiller