Wednesday, 12 November 2014
The Life of Pi (5 Stars)
That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob's hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. Then the man said, "Let me go, for it is daybreak".
But Jacob replied, "I will not let you go unless you bless me".
The man asked him, "What is your name?"
"Jacob", he answered.
Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome".
Jacob said, "Please tell me your name".
But he replied, "Why do you ask my name?" Then he blessed him there.
So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, "It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared".
The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel, and he was limping because of his hip. Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob's hip was touched near the tendon.
The word "Israel" means "God's fighter". For this reason the Jews proudly claim that they are the ones who fight for God. However, the word is ambiguous, since it could be an objective or a subjective genitive. The passage quoted above shows the true meaning of the word. Jacob, the father of the Jews, was called Israel because he fought against God, not for him. This has been repeated in the 4000 years since this occasion. The Jews have continually fought against God, as was seen most clearly when they crucified their Messiah. And yet they are blessed. Not because they deserve it, but because God wants to bless them.
I have just watched "The Life of Pi" for the sixth time, the fifth time this year. Every time I watch it I dig deeper into the religious imagery. It's a brilliant film that can be enjoyed on so many different levels.