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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Vayeitzei 5763-2002

"The Transformation of Jacob"

At first glance, Jacob appears to be a congenital deceiver. He takes the birthright from his brother then steals Esau's blessing. Even Isaac describes the taking of the blessing by Jacob as an act of deception. Jacob however undergoes a transformation in which he realizes that evil cannot be deceived, but must be confronted directly. For this reason, Jacob is to be regarded as a particularly exalted figure, for teaching humankind how one is to deal with one's own shortcomings.

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Vayeitzei 5762-2001

"From Ish Tam to Business Mogul: The Transformation of Jacob"

How does Jacob, who is described in the Torah as an ingenuous man who sits and studies in the tent, become so incredibly successful-- a master businessman? According to Professor Ernest Van Den Haag much of it has to do with education, one of the most exalted values in Jewish life. It could be that when Jacob took a 14 year detour to study at the Yeshiva of Shem and Ever before he arrived at Laban's, he sharpened his cerebral skills to prepare for his encounter with the wily Laban. Could it be that Jacob's "Yeshiva" education also contributed to his incredible financial successes?

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Vayeitzei 5761-2000

"The Role of Mother Rachel in Jewish History"

Mother Rachel is not only the great matriarch, she also is considered the great defender of her children--the Jewish people. It is Mother Rachel who watches over her children as they go out to exile and return, passing by her grave located on the road to Bethlehem. How fortunate are her progeny to have a mother who is always there for them.

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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.

Read More


0 Comments11 Minutes