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 14 Kislev 5768, (24 November 2007). Torah Portion. VaYishlach, Genesis : 32:4-36:43.
Family Reunion, November 21, 2007
How to greet your brother, who you have not seen or spoken to in over 20 years.
PS: When you parted last time, the word on the street was that he wanted to kill you!

Most Torah explanations seek to place the avos on some unattainable level. This may be done because so much emphasis is placed on mussar. that is to say that our Rabbi's want us to look not at the human attributes of our forefathers, but rather at their superhuman traits.
I prefer to look at the important interactions and try to put our selves in the place of our avos. Why did Yskov choose to flee the scene with all of his children, property and wealth? What was the buzz about Yakov right before he left the epmployment of Lavan. Did Lavan's friends and family think the Yakov was a top notch worker, straightforward, direct and honest in his his dealing with his father-in-law, Lavan?
In my humble opionion from my personal point of view, we can learn far mor from our torah, if we try to imaginine how we might act under similar circumstances. The image that comes to mind is one of a very machmir Rabbi reading my words, and slamming down his fist upon the desk. I understand that the avos Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yakov, were on a a much higher madraga then we can even claim to have the most basic understanding of. However, how else can we learn from our forefathers if we do not seek to imagine how we might react in trheir place.
For example:
Yakov was astute, he paid attention to how people of his day tended to spin things.
The above is a positive staement about Yakov's character, he was not concerned about public opionion on an egotisitical platform, rather he was concerned that at some point family/smamily at some point Yakov might simply overstay his welcome.
Yakov knew who he was dealing with. The torah itself gives us a pretty clear picture, when Yakov summarizes how he came to Lavan (empty handed) Lavan states none the less you are family so stay.
However Yakov knew he would not be living the existence of well loved family member, Yakov knew that Lavon was interested in making a few bucks on his nephews back. Yakov was even clever enough to allow Lavan to make the first move on "salary negotiations". Lavan how much tact, when after 30 days of Yakov's stay he stated I paraphrase "Just because your family does not mean you have to work for nothing" then Lavan goes on to make a big show of being generous, "Name your wage!"
However Yakov was clever enough to have anticipated even this. 
How did Yakov come up with a plan so that he could leave with something other then the clothes on his back.
Aharon Moshe Sanders
November 21, 2007 10:30AM

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