Only after Jacob encounters the angel – “For you have struggled with a divine being and have prevailed” (Gen. 32:29) – can he survive, growing into the leader he was destined to be.
Without passing this test, Jacob cannot become Israel.
Only when he resolves not to flee from his problems but to stand up and face them can he cease being Jacob the individual and return home as Israel.
This is the beginning of a nation, the beginning of our enduring existence.
–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz