Kenneth Cohen

Lavan and Jew Hatred

There is an interesting parallel between Yakov Avinu and Lavan, and the challenges we are facing today, as part of the Jewish people.

There is no question that Lavan was a vicious anti-semite. Just like sleazy characters like Barack Obama, he tried to conceal his contempt for Yakov, with his smooth tongue and phoniness. Like our adversaries today, Lavan was consumed with jealousy of Yakov. He represented the purity of character, that he would never achieve.

But perhaps the biggest lesson learned from Lavan, is that Jew haters don’t care about the facts, and they are certainly not interested in the truth.

The deceitful Lavan was given the opportunity of having G-d reveal Himself to him in a dream. He was warned that he better not harm Yakov in any way. He was sufficiently frightened that he left Yakov alone, but it was not enough to change his evil ways.

If a revelation from Hashem was not enough to convince Lavan that Yakov’s path was correct, he was a hopeless case. He was not interested in the truth, and was not interested in changing his corrupt existence.

We are facing numerous Lavans in the world today. They are guided by their hatred of the Jewish people. They will deny the truth regardless of how strong the proofs might be. We need not focus on the Jew haters, for they will not change. But we do need to make the ignorant more aware, and show the world the justice of our cause. We may not be able to make the Lavans believe, but we must have faith to know that the truth will win in the end. The Redemption is at hand!

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at