Drash Cards for VaYeitze (5775)
By Marc Mangel
- Focus on the story of a young man who is forced to leave home under the threat of a violent death and goes to a foreign land where a relative grudgingly takes him in. Today’s immigration kerfuffle? No, the story of Jacob – a man with a dream (actually two dreams). What can we learn from the Torah – whose message is timeless – about immigration
- Jacob shows up and asks the first people he sees “My brothers, where are you from” (Ch 29 v4).
- Emek Davar says: Jacob was polite and friendly to everyone. Seeing someone, especially a stranger, and greeting them as a brother, welcoming everyone with a friendly greeting is a great chesed. And – the greatest qualities in a person are not those he is born with but those he cultivates in difficult circumstances. The Torah is teaching us that we must aspire to showing a friendly countenance and offer a kind word to everyone
• The Haggadah teaches that Laban was far more evil than Pharaoh. READ FROM HAGGADAH. What is this about?
- Laban’s welcome to Jacob, just the Torah (Ch 29 v 14) Laban said to him you are truly my own flesh and blood. So stayed with him for a month
- Rashi interpolated in the Rebbe’s Chumash Ch 29 v 14 Laban said to him “If that be the case [that Jacob, unlike Elizier arrived without riches] I have no reason to welcome you into my home other than the face that you are truly my own flesh and blood. You may stay with me for a month if you tend my flocks. So Jacob stayed with him for a month and tended his flocks
• Chofetz Chaim says that Lavan’s complaints have been the base of anti-semeitic ideology through the ages
“That is the way of the nations in the land of our galut. We work with the sweat of our brow and acquire every penny correctly and the nations become wealthy by our labor. We are careful not to touch what belongs to them in the slightest and yet they complain “Whatever you see is mine”. In their eyes, they are the masters and we are their slaves, and whatever a slave acquires belongs to his master”
This was Laban’s motivation for dealing deceitfully with Jacob.
• We all know the first dream. What about the second? Ch 31 v 13—God tells him to return home. 20 years later
- Pinchas Peli –Jacob catches himself in time to realize that his dreams instead of reaching for the stars are now filled with sheep (the hard currency of his time) and he realizes the this cannot take the place of his youthful idealism. When Jacob realizes that materialistic dreams are taking over, he sees what Laban and Labanism [assimilation into a culture of materialism] have done to him and he has to act now or will not have another chance to recapture the old dream
• We are here taught about the danger of the immigrant losing is soul in another land. Moshe named his first child – born in Midian – Gershom: ger + shom
• The Torah’s lessons as we think about immigrants
Welcome everyone as Yaakov did (positive example)
Do not exploit the immigrant as Lavan did (negative example)
Do not demand that the loss of dreams or their culture as Moshe showed us (negative example)
• One last thought as we enter donation season: The oldest international migration and refugee resettlement agency in the U.S is Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS). Founded in 1881 originally to assist Jews fleeing pogroms in Russia and Eastern Europe, HIAS has touched the life of nearly every American Jew. To honor this parsah, consider making a donation Jewish family in America and