Vayeitzei 5780-2019

“Who is the Real Enemy?”
(Updated and revised from Vayeitzei 5760-1999)

Despite his limited role in the biblical narrative, Jewish history portrays Laban as a significant, evil character. He plays a major role in the Passover Haggadah, where he is referred to as “the Aramaean who sought to destroy our father.” Laban is even considered more dangerous than Pharaoh. Pharaoh is an outright, public enemy. Laban, on the other hand, embraces us in a false embrace and his kiss is the kiss of death. Because he feigns love, and since we are unaware of Laban’s subtle desire to destroy the Jewish people, he is far more dangerous than Pharaoh.

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Kee Tavo 5778-2018

“A Wandering Aramean?”

In the beautiful declaration that plays a prominent role in the Bikkurim ceremony, there is an ambiguous reference to “a Wandering Aramean.”

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Kee Tavo 5763-2003

"Watch Out for Laban, He is More Dangerous Than Pharaoh"

As part of the Bikkurim declaration, the celebrants stated that "An Aramean tried to destroy my father." The Torah thus sees the Aramean, Laban, as more dangerous than Pharaoh. The fact that Pharaoh wants to do us in is well known, so we can protect ourselves. Our brother Laban, however, the wily Aramean, is always out there waiting for us, feigning love, conspiring to defeat us. We need always be on watch for him.

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Vayeitzei 5760-1999

"Who is the Real Enemy?"

Despite his rather minor textual role, Jewish history portrays Laban as a significant and evil character. He plays a major role in the Passover Hagaddah, referred to in that context as "the Aramanean who sought to destroy our father." The literature is replete with all sorts of devious acts and trickery that Laban perpetrated on the Jewish people to undermine them. Laban is even considered more dangerous than Pharaoh. Pharaoh is an outright and public enemy. Laban, on the other hand, embraces us in a false embrace and his kiss is the kiss of death. He feigns love. That is why he is more dangerous than Pharaoh, since it is so difficult to recognize his subtle desire to destroy us.

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