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Parshat VaYetzei: Phonies, Cons & Tricksters

by Chaya Rivka Zwolinski

In Parshat Vayeitzei, we learn that Lavan tricked Yaakov by replacing Rachel, the bride he worked seven years for with Leah, her sister. Lavan also tried to trick Yaakov into diminishing his flocks and wealth.

Reb Nosson tells us that Yaakov represents the true tzaddikim who learn and teaches the Torah in purity, without ulterior motive. Lavan represents the phony conman, the false leaders who only learn and teach Torah so that others honor them and give them money. Lavan’s Torah is false, used for personal power and control over others.

The archetypal battle between Yaakov and Lavan was the battle over their flocks, which in those days were a person’s wealth. In the end, Lavan lost his flocks to Yaakov because his lust for wealth spelled the downfall of his wealth. Yaakov however, used his wealth for good – to establish the 12 tribes, for mitzvot, for Torah and ultimately, for Hashem.

May you have a day in which you can see through false leaders and learn Torah from a true tzaddik.

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