Divrei Torah

PARSHAS VAYEITZEI 5779

There are several verses in today’s Parsha that indicate to us that Lavan was not the most honest person. Our Rabbis teach us that when Ya’akov first came to Haran, Lavan was looking for Ya’akov’s wealth. The Torah teaches us that Lavan switched Rachel for Leah. He also switched their maidservants Bilha and Zilpa. He made Ya’akov do slave labor. He kept changing the terms and wages of Ya’akov’s labor.

When Ya’akov fled, Lavan pursued him and told him that all the wealth was his and not Ya’akov’s. Ya’akov finally tells Lavan that Lavan switched the terms of their agreement 100 times.

Yaakov is in quite a frustrating situation. Lavan keeps getting under his skin. Despite all of the frustration and difficulty in dealing with Lavan throughout the Parsha, we find that Ya’akov does not give up, protest or vent his anger against Lavan. Ya’akov could have burned Lavan’s property, slaughtered all of his cattle and caused significant harm to Lavan’s estate. Instead, he continually stayed honest and pragmatic. He kept moving forward without taking out his frustrations on Lavan. With G-d’s help, Yaakov significantly increased his estate and portfolio. Yaakov built his family and the foundations of the Jewish people. He passed his character test with flying colors. He was going to defeat Lavan no matter how Lavan attempted to outsmart him. By staying truthful and restrained, Yaakov beat Lavan at his own game.

It is much more difficult to build than to destroy. The Torah teaches us that Ya’akov responded to his challenges through building. That is an effective manner to get back at what you feel is not just. Prove what you can make of yourself. We all have tests and difficult situations in our lives. How do we respond to these seeming injustices? Prove to the world that you are somebody. Prove that you are better than they are. We aim to be builders, who can assist the world and advance proper causes.