In this week’s parsha we talk about the importance of identity.
A guy takes a trip to Moscow and returns home to his little city, all excited:
“I fooled the whole ofMoscow!” he exclaims.
“Really! How did you do it?”
“I told them my name is Jacob – but my name is really Josh!”
Humor aside, this anecdote touches on the fragility of identity. Living in a world where names and numbers define our status, we are a society vulnerable to identity theft, and worse, internal identity crises.
So what is our true identity? Is it defined by our title, our social security number? What is the core of our identity that remains unchangeable?
Identity is who we are – not what we do or the means by which others recognize us. Our true identity can never be changed, no matter how many hats we wear; it is our values and principles, the grit and substance, that constitutes who we are as individuals.
The previous Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneerson, personified this concept when he was arrested for his activities in strengthening Jewish awareness in Soviet Russia. He then brazenly stated: “It is only my body that you are taking to prison – my soul can never be imprisoned.”
Identity is beyond reach!