I discussed with someone recently the incident in Bereshis where Ya'akov wrestles with an angel. It quickly became clear that our understanding of that story was completely different as far as what the angel was, what it signified, and overall, what was happening.
- The angel was Esau's angel. He did not specify what exactly this meant, but my guess is that this would be Esau's guardian angel whom Esau sent to kill Ya'akov.
- The two of them literally wrestled all night and the angel was actively trying to kill Ya'akov.
- The angel was sent out of revenge by Esau for stealing the birthright.
- The blessing was not given willingly.
- The hip injury was exactly what it appears to be.
- The angel was Ya'akov's yetzer ha-ra, given human/angelic form.
- The wrestling was a spiritual fight. Ya'akov was in no physical/mortal danger per se.
- The angel was a literal angel, but also Ya'akov's guilt for cheating his brother out of the birthright and his evil inclinations, because he on some level felt what he did was wrong. The fight was thus a fight against himself more than an external battle.
- The blessing/rebirth was Ya'akov "maturing" in a sense, becoming a full tzaddik by overcoming his yetzer ha-ra and directing it towards good rather than evil.
- The hip injury is a metaphor for how fighting our inner urges can cause lasting damage but ultimately makes us stronger/better people, as it did for Ya'akov.
Neither of us had direct sources to cite for what we had heard, other than "my rabbi". With this in mind: Are there reasons to take one conclusion over the other? Are they simply different interpretations or levels of Torah and are both correct? I see here that there exists at least one more interpretation, that being that the angel was Gavriel. This isn't directly part of my question, but still relevant insofar as it further muddies the waters by being a third party unconnected to Esau and Ya'akov's yetzer ha-ra.