God Wrestler – A poem for Parsha Vayishlach (Aliyah 2)

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Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, because you have commanding power

After a night of stranger wrestling
After the he donkeys and she donkeys

were wrapped in fraternal paper to
make up for the inadequacy of the stew

After the wives were sent across the river
After the unnamed wrestler caused

a permanent limp with just a finger.
After the unnamed wrestler glowed

until the break of dawn
until the break of dawn

After Jacob kicked holy butt
After Jacob told the stranger his name

After the stranger was coy about his name.
Then, Jacob got a new name

Then, Jacob became the wrestler
Then, Jacob became Israel

And the rest of us
after the donkeys

and the wives, and the river
Never forgot that name

put it on our business cards
Speak it out loud whenever

we’re asked
who we are.

These poems are offered free for your enjoyment. If you use them as part of an event, meeting, educational or liturgical setting, please consider tipping the author.

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