In this week’s Parshah, Vayishlach, we read how Jacob fights with an angel and wins. The angel tells him that he will be also called Israel, “because you struggled with [an angel of] G‑d and with men, and prevailed.” Later in our Parshah, G‑d tells Jacob that his name will now be Israel. He goes on to be called by both names, sometimes Israel, sometimes Jacob.

Our nation is known by both names: “the children of Israel” and “the House of Jacob.”

What is the significance of these names? If Israel is so special, why keep Jacob?

As Jews, we have a constant inner struggle. On one hand, there is being a part of this physical world, with all the hardships and pleasures that go with it. On the other, there is our ability to rise above it all and be one with G‑d.

Our name Jacob, which means “heel,” is the part of us that deals with this reality. Jacob also means “to trick,” being clever, because it is our mission to transform this world into a G‑dly place. Since this world is a world of lies and corruption, we must be clever, to not be taken in by its allure.

Israel is our ability to rise above it all, even above the spiritual realms, which are also creations, and connect with our essence, our neshamah (soul), which is actually a part of G‑d and not subject to the deceit of creation.

While Israel sounds nice, it doesn’t effect the change we are meant to accomplish in the world. Jacob is the part of us that transform this world, which can be done only by taking part in it. Yet it is necessary for us to go to an Israel reality from time to time, to rejuvenate and remind ourselves of our purpose.

On a personal level, our lives are full of pain and struggles. It is there that we accomplish our primary purpose. Our struggles have meaning; our suffering is accomplishing amazing things. It is hard to see it this way. That is when we need to connect with G‑d, to rise above and rejuvenate. We need to let go and allow Him to take over.

It is time for our struggles to end. May G‑d send Moshiach and put an end to this dark exile. May it happen soon.