Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Parshas Vayeitzei

Power To Choose

By Rabbi Pinchas Avruch

"But G-d came to Lavan the Aramean in a dream by night and said to him, 'Beware lest you speak with Yaakov (Jacob) either good or bad.'...And Lavan awoke early in the morning; he kissed his sons and daughters and blessed them, then Lavan went and returned to his place." (Beraishis/Genesis 31:24; 32:1)

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (1) notes that Lavan's return to his "place" is not simply a geographic reference; it speaks to his psychological return to his long-held corrupt values. Even though he experienced a personal Divine revelation, the experience did nothing to improve his character or impact him in the slightest. How could such a profound experience simply fail to sway him?

Lavan appreciated that as G-d instructed him not to perpetrate evil toward Yaakov, He neither actively withheld Lavan's freedom of choice nor prevented him from taking any specific action. Ultimately, Lavan retained his power to decide for himself. And while he chose to follow this particular Divine directive, his deeper understanding of his freedom to pursue evil prevented this experience, great as it was, from making any impression.

There are two thoughts that eternally run through the minds of most: "Why must there be evil in the world?" and "I would be a better person if only G-d would express clearly what to do with my life". G-d created evil because it is only through evil that creation has purpose: without it there is no "choice" in the world, no reason to want to do anything but fulfill G-d's will. But such service would be empty and devoid of meaning. G-d's essential expression of kindness in creation is His allowance for us to foster a relationship with Him and grow in our G-d consciousness through fulfillment of the mitzvos (Divine commands) of His Torah while resisting the tug of the Yetzer Hara (2) to do otherwise (3). And Lavan demonstrates that, with a properly functioning Yetzer Hara, even a personal audience with the Master of the Universe that brings a complete cognizance of the Divine mission of humanity, a person has the prerogative and power to squander the opportunity and sully the relationship.

Or not to.

Have a Good Shabbos.

(1) 1895-1986; Rosh Yeshiva/Dean of Mesivtha Tifereth Jerusalem in New York City; the leading Halachic/Jewish legal decisor of his time and one of the principal leaders of Torah Jewry through much of the last century
(2) the evil inclination: Satan's personal tampering with one's thoughts creating temptation to sin and do wrong
(3) see Kol HaKollel Vayishlach 5763 (www.torah.org/learning/kolhakollel/5763/vayishlach.html)


Text Copyright 2004 by Rabbi Pinchas Avruch and Torah.org.

Kol HaKollel is a publication of The Milwaukee Kollel Center for Jewish Studies 5007 West Keefe Avenue Milwaukee, Wisconsin 414-447-7999


 






ARTICLES ON MASEI AND THE THREE WEEKS:

View Complete List

From the Depths of Your Heart
Rabbi Chaim Flom - 5767

Delivery From G-d Through Your Mouth
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5760

A Day of Rebuilding
Rabbi Label Lam - 5761

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Our Universe Small
Rabbi Label Lam - 5763

Kamtza and Bar-Kamtza
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5758

Body Language
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5770

ArtScroll

They Can Assure a Cure
Rabbi Label Lam - 5773

To My Very Last Breath
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

I Told You So
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5772

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

It Must Have Been a Miracle!
Shlomo Katz - 5773

Why Do We Mourn?
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5756

Your Flattery Will Be The Death of Me
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771

> The Longest Journey Ever
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5760

About This We Cry!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5766

Close Enough?
Rabbi Label Lam - 5774

Defining Good
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5763



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information