My Brother, My Enemy
There is perhaps no parsha in the Torah with which the Jewish world
today can identify so fully as with this week's parsha of Vayetze. Yaakov
is dealing with two great and dangerous adversaries, both of whom are
close to him personally and understand and appreciate his greatness.
Nevertheless, both Eisav and Lavan are out to destroy Yaakov - to
eliminate him and all that he stands for from the world. Eisav states his
aim openly and without embarrassment. "After my father's death I will
murder Yaakov." Yaakov will have to deal with this threat to his existence
and he successfully does so through a variety of tactics and measures. The
open anti-Semites in our world state brazenly that they want to make the
world judenrein. The fanatics of Islam and the haters who populate the neo-
Nazi parties in the Western world make no secret of their intentions
regarding our future. But they will not succeed. We will not allow them to
succeed and the Lord of Israel has stated many times that He will never
forsake or desert us completely. Eisav can cripple Yaakov, as he has done
many times over our history, but he cannot vanquish and destroy Yaakov.
The Jewish people are too strong and resilient to allow for such an
occurrence. We will fight this overt anti-Jewish hatred with all of our
heart and soul and might. And we shall triumph.
More insidious and, according to the rabbis of the Pesach Hagada, more
dangerous and lethal is the hatred that Lavan holds for us. His complaints
stem from academia and professors, artists and intellectuals. He is
convinced that if there will be no Yaakov, then everyone else in the world
can live happily ever after. He has nothing but praise for Yaakov - "The
Lord has blessed me because of you." He acknowledges Yaakov's
contributions to civilization and humanity, his talents and Nobel prizes.
But that does not sway Lavan emotionally. Behind the veneer of his
intellectuality and liberal humanism, Lavan is a killer, a murderer of his
own family, simply because he detests Yaakov and all that he stands for.
Lavan has diplomatic solutions for Yaakov's problems with Eisav. Lavan
wants a single-state solution to the Israeli-Arab war; he wants the
anachronistic Jew and his baffling religion to disappear; he really wants
what is best for us but we are too stupid to accept his suggestions. Lavan
is thriving today - in the UN, the European Union, academia and
unfortunately even amongst some of Yaakov's descendants. But Lavan also is
to be vanquished and left in the ash heap of history. After four thousand
years of history, not much has really changed.
Rabbi Berel Wein
Text Copyright © 2004 by Rabbi Berel Wein and Torah.org