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    Remaining unscathed – Vayyetzei

    Jacob talks with Laban, Foster Bible Pictures 1897

    The 31st chapter of B’reshit describes life with Laban.

    He changed Jacob’s wages ten times. Who could trust a man like that?

    No integrity – sticking to a promise even if he found circumstances had become more difficult (Psalm 15 extols the person who “changeth not”).

    No honesty – more interested in what he could get for himself than what he could do for other people (the Ten Commandments have a trenchant sentence about how to treat your servant).

    No humanity or concern for his family’s good name – his own children wondered whether they still had “a portion and inheritance in our father’s house” (Gen. 31: 14-16).

    No wonder the rabbinic sages put into Jacob’s mouth the rhyming words, Im Lavan gar’ti v’taryag mitzvot shamar’ti – “I lived with Laban but I kept the 613 commandments”.

    The tzaddik never has an easy time in a wicked environment; the mark of a good person is that they remain unscathed by what’s around them.

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