Friday, November 23, 2007

Parshas Vayishlach - "You Gotta Feel It Man"

To all of you who did not have time to prepare a Dvar Torah.....

(Breishis 32:5) "I have lived with Lavan, and tarried until now"

Rashi cites the famous Chazal that the word "Garti" (I lived) has the numerical value of 613, indicating "I lived with the wicked Lavan, nevertheless I observed the 613 Commandments, without learning from his evil ways."

Rav Ruderman noted the apparent redundancy in Yaakov's message to his brother, Eisav.

If Yaakov had already sent the message "I observed the 613 Commandments," what is added by further stating "and I have not learned from the evil ways of Lavan?"

Rav Ruderman Zt"l, taught that the inference to be drawn, is that one can observe the 613 commandments and, nevertheless, learn from the ways of a Lavan. Even within the context of a fully observant life-style, a person can wind up looking like a Lavan. Even when an individual's actions are technically permissible, the person may still be acting like a Lavan. A person can live an indulgent life-style -- one that may not technically deviate from the letter of the Law, but one, which is totally foreign from the spirit of the Law.

Therefore, Yaakov clarified: "Not only have I observed the letter of the 613 commandments, I have also not learned from Lavan and have even continued to observe the spirit of those laws."

The concept that there can be a dichotomy between someone's religious life and his social life, that glatt Kosher applies only to what I put in my mouth but not to what I see or how I act or dress, is wrong. It is a violation of "I have not learned from his evil ways".


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