Lavan’s Greed by Avi Stiefel


In this week's Parasha, Eliezer travels to Aram Naharayim, the home of Nachor, to find a wife for Yitzchak. After the story at the well, Rivkah runs to her house to tell her family what has occurred. The Torah then writes something that is extremely difficult to understand.  (24:29-30) “Vayaratz Lavan Ell Haish, Hachutzah Ell Haain. Vayehi Kirot Et Hanezem. Vayavo Ell Haish. ...”  These 2 Pesukim seem to be redundant. Why would the Torah write that Lavan ran to Eliezer, and then that Lavan came to Eliezer, after seeing the jewelry?

Rashi explains that Vayaratz means that Lavan ran to greet Eliezer after he saw the jewels because he realized that Eliezer was rich. The Or Hachayim questions this approach and asks how it is possible to interpret the Pasuk according to Rashi; Rashi’s explanation makes the Torah even more redundant than before. The Seforno explains Vayaratz as Lavan ran out to see how rich Eliezer was, instead of inviting Eliezer into his home.

The Seforno's explanation of the Pesukim describes Lavan as greedy. However, one can read these Pesukim to show something even darker than simple greed. One may suggest that Lavan had only heard that a stranger came to the well, and begged Rivkah for a drink. Lavan assumed that Eliezer was a wandering beggar who had come to beg for food and shelter. Therefore, Lavan ran out to chase Eliezer out of the village, in order that Eliezer would come to Lavan for money. However, when Lavan saw all the jewelry, and heard that Eliezer was looking for a wife for Yitzchak, Lavan knew that Eliezer had a lot of money, and would be able to gain a lot of money out of the proposed marriage. Immediately, Lavan changed tactics. Instead of running out to throw Eliezer out of the village, Lavan approached Eliezer kindly, hoping to get some money out of Eliezer.

These Pesukim show that Lavan was not just greedy, but rather he was willing to even marry off his sister to a stranger just for money. We should try to act differently than Lavan, by acting with kindness and generosity, instead of greed and cruelty.

Do the Right Thing by Ari Ginsberg

Human Nature by Ari Selevan