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Shabbat

Each week we feature a different outstanding Florida Rabbi.

Torah Portion of the week:

Vayetze

Rabbi Pinchas Weberman
Congregation Ohev Shalom
Miami Beach

Our Father Yaakov fled from the wrath of his brother Esav to Charan and the house of his uncle Lavan. At first sight it would seem that Yaakov's situation was relieved as he went to Lavan. Esav was obviously full of vicious anger and swore to harm Yaakov. Lavan was very cordial as he invited Yaakov to his house and spoke to him with the best of manners and very polite. The opposite is true. Yaakov's safety was much more compromised under Lavan than under Esav.

A person is in much greater danger when the enemy's anger is hidden than when it is out in the open. Yaakov was quickly and totally able to evade Esav's anger by fleeing to another land out of his reach. Lavan put his victims off guard by hiding his vicious hatred behind a facade of cordiality. With the victim off guard, the enemy has the advantage of surprise against his unsuspecting prey.

In our struggle to live a life guided by Torah and righteousness, we are confronted with secularist and atheists who attempt to discourage us with scorn and mockery. Others attempt to lure us to compromise our faith and pervert Judaism while they pose to be preservers of Tradition. The secular atheists are likened to Esav. Their danger is very clear and not difficult to avoid. The deviant so-called "branches of Judaism" are like the much more dangerous Lavan.

In Jewish communities today there are multitudes of people, young and old who show a great desire to return to our precious heritage. For them, the secularists are a minor danger compared to those who call themselves spiritual leaders and mislead their followers down the false paths of a compromised religion.

Yaakov our father was a pillar of truth and prevailed over Lavan. Today's Jewish communities will prevail over those who attempt to mislead them for they are also committed to truth.