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Stay Away from Evil

There is an interesting commentary from the Baal Haturim, that shows how a great deal can be learned from every detail of the Torah.

When Yakov arrives in Charan to seek a wife, he meets some of the locals near a problematic well. He asks them if they know Lavan, son of Nachor. They answer that indeed, they do know him. He then asks, השלום לו, “Is there peace with him?” They answer only with the word, “Shalom.”

The Baal Haturim claims that they were actually what kind of person Lavan was. Is he honest and righteous? Their answer of שלום without שלום לו, was a hint that he is none of those things, and we really don’t care for him very much. It was a subtle warning to watch out for that guy.

Another point of the Baal Haturim is that there is no real peace for the wicked. They might live a life where they acquire material gains. But their lies and deceptions, do not give them happiness, and peace of mind.

Crime really does not pay. There might be short term gains in taking advantage of people. But in the end, the Lavans still have to live with themselves. Deep down, they know who they really are. This does not bring them joy.

Clearly, when one always tries to do the right thing, and never wavers in his faith and principles, he will have happiness and peace of mind. Truth always wins in the end.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for more than twenty years. He has been teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach, Old Katamon, Jerusalem, for the nearly seventeen years. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles.
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