This week’s Parsha Perspective is dedicated in memory of Elka bas Zisel OBM
And in memory of Leah bas Rochel OBM
After Jacob and his family fled Laban's home, Laban took chase and apprehended them at Mount Gilead. "The daughters are my daughters and the sons are my sons," he claimed. "What would I do to these daughters of mine today, or to their children whom they have borne?"
The Torah is multi-layered, and even seemingly simple statements contain deeper meanings. Laban's words to Jacob were also intended to convey a deeper, and much more sinister message. Jacob at this point in time was an elderly Jew, nearly one hundred years old. He had received his education in the houses of Abraham and Isaac, and had spend the greater part of his life in "the tents of learning"– the prototypical old-generation white-bearded Jew. Laban represented the opposite extreme; a crafty, worldly businessman who spent his entire life chasing the dollar. When Laban saw that Jacob was intent on educating his children in the ways of Abraham and Isaac, as a concerned grandparent he gave Jacob some unsolicited advice.
"Your ways were fine for the 'old generation,' but the children are mine. The new generation must be properly educated to be successful professionals, without wasting their time by teaching them laws and philosophies which won't help them earn a nickel."
Jacob, however, understood that business acumen alone is not the key to success. Yes, the Torah says that "G-d will bless you in all your endeavors," meaning that G-d expects us to work, not to rely on manna from Heaven, but our work is merely the channel through which G-d's blessings flow. Strengthening our connection to G-d through the study of Torah and observance of mitzvot increases the flow of blessings. If the pipes aren't connected to an existing source of water, expanding the size of the pipes won't solve the problem!
True Jewish education instills within the children this vital understanding. This imbues the children with the strength to go out into the world, but not be intimidated by it, for it is merely a G-dly tool which provides us with the sustenance which is already preordained for us.
(Excerpts from Chabad.org - by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg)
May you have a meaningful and uplifting Shabbos!