Torah Portion Vayetze - And he went out
Vayetze - "And he went out"
B'reisheet (Genesis) 28:10-32:3
Avoiding the trap of deception is one of the hardest challenges that HaShem's people have to overcome. This is because deception is always disguised. Therefore, people are fooled. We can see this in Rav Shaul's second letter to the Corinthians. 2Corinthians 11:1315 states "such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ, and no wonder-for even the Adversary doth transform himself into a messenger of light; no great thing, then, if also his ministrants do transform themselves as ministrants of righteousness-whose end shall be according to their works." The adversary and his ministers commonly disguise their lies and deceptions as words of truth. Therefore, deception is the most powerful tool the adversary uses. As the return of the Mashiach gets closer deception will become more prevalent. Revelations 13:1114 states "I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spoke as a dragon. And he exercised all the power of the first beast before him, and caused the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he made fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, and deceived them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live." The false prophet calls fire down from heaven to prove to people that he is Eliyahu. We can see where Eliyahu called fire down from heaven in 2Kings1:10 which states "Eliyahu answered and said to the captain of fifty, If I be a man of God, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy fifty. And fire came down from heaven, and consumed him and his fifty." Because the false prophets deception is a reproduction of Eliyahu's miracle many will believe that Eliyahu has come to usher in the coming of the messiah. To protect His people from deceptions such as this, HaShem has empowered us with the ability to discern the truth. However, discerning the truth does not come automatically. HaShem's people must be trained in how to use the power of discernment. The Torah presents many examples for this purpose. One of the most comprehensive examples is in Vayetze. Using Yaakov for example, Vayetze clarifies how easy it is for HaShem's people to be deceived through the eyes, the ears, and the emotions.
B'reisheet 29:17 states "Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favored." Rachel's beauty caused Yaakov to be deceived by what he saw. Therefore, Yaakov entered into a verbal agreement with Laban that would require him to serve Laban seven years. After the seven years were complete Yaakov believed that he would marry Rachel. However, it was not the custom in Laban's country to give the younger daughter in marriage first. Yaakov valued the appearance of Rachel more than he valued the truth. Therefore, Yaakov did not seek to learn the customs of marriage in Laban's country. As a result, Yaakov never learned that the custom in Laban's country was to marry the oldest daughter first. B'reisheet 29:25-26 states "it came to pass, that in the morning, behold, it was Leah: and he said to Laban, What is this thou hast done unto me? did not I serve with thee for Rachel? wherefore then hast thou beguiled me? And Laban said, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn." Had Yaakov sought wisdom and understanding of the customs of marriage in Laban's country he would have seen the truth, and not been so easily deceived! Yaakov did not have the knowledge required to judge rightfully whether Laban was telling the truth. To determine the truth it is critical that we do not base our judgment on what our eyes see. Yochanan 7:24 states "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment."
B'reisheet 29:19 states "Laban said, It is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man: abide with me." Yaakov's ears also deceived him. Yaakov assumed that because Laban preferred Yaakov marrying Rachel instead of another man, Laban would readily give Rachel's hand in marriage. Yaakov was deceived because Laban said what Yaakov wanted to hear; and Yaakov heard what he wanted to hear. Yaakov read more into the meaning of what Laban was saying than what Laban actually said. As a result, Yaakov assumed Laban would give him Rachel immediately on the completion of Yaakov's seven years of service. Interpreting what is said the way we want to hear it can lead us away from HaShem. 2Timothy 4:3-4 states "there shall be a season when the sound teaching they will not suffer, but according to their own desires to themselves they shall heap up teachers-itching in the hearing, and indeed, from the truth the hearing they shall turn away, and to the fables they shall be turned aside." Yaakov should have listened to HaShem to determine Laban's intent. Instead, Yaakov based his decision on what he thought he had heard.
Yaakov's emotions also allowed him to be deceived. B'reisheet 29:9-11 states "while he yet spoke with them, Rachel came with her father's sheep: for she kept them. And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother. And Jacob kissed Rachel, and lifted up his voice, and wept." Kissing Rachel at the well-caused Yaakov to become emotionally attached, even though he did know if Laban would agree to the union. Yaakov's emotional involvement with Rachel clouded his discernment. 1Yochanan 4:1 states "believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." Yaakov should have tested the spirits instead of allowing his emotions to rule. Spiritually Leah was a better match for Yaakov then Rachel. Leah's type of righteousness is what HaShem sought for the building of the Yisraelite nation.
Yaakov allowed himself to be deceived through his eyes, ears, and emotions. Yaakov is an example that should warn us how easily we can be deceived by what we see, hear, and feel. As HaShem's people, our safety may rely on discernment of the truth. Therefore, we should not judge by appearance, believe what we hear, and rely on our emotions. Instead, we should learn to judge righteously, discern what we hear by HaShem's word, and test the spirits.
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