A Drash for Va-Yetze 5769
Today I want to focus on one word in Ch 29, v 26: B’Mkomo.
Laban has clearly cheated Jacob – he knows that and Jacob knows that – but says “Well, we don’t do that around here”.
Rashi is silent on this verse, but the Ramban asked “why is it in the plural?” And he answers (updated for our day): A characteristic of a non-Godly person is the flight from personal responsibility by placing the deal, whatever it may be, on somebody else’s shoulders.
That person says – “Am I to blame? No way. I am just a member of this community and so…”
Ramban, and many other sages conclude: You are responsible for your own deeds. Not the organization, not the community, and not somebody backing you. You, and you alone.
This thought is as valid today as it was 3000 years ago and let us all learn from it.
About this teaching, Nehama Leibowitz writes: “Ramban shows us how a small grammatical point can have important moral implications [there are actually many, many Halachot derived from this pasuk]. The grammatical questions and the idea are all part and parcel of the teaching of Judaism called Torah, and require study”.
About this reading, we may say: “Every day in our prayers we enunciate the one-ness and uniqueness of God. Because of that, it is our job to find a connection to the Godly in every event and every teaching –because all flows from God”