And he commanded them, saying, "So shall you say to my master to Esau, 'Thus said your servant Yaacov, "I have sojourned with Lavan, and I have tarried until now.
וַיְצַו אֹתָם לֵאמֹר כֹּה תֹאמְרוּן לַאדֹנִי לְעֵשָׂו כֹּה אָמַר עַבְדְּךָ יַעֲקֹב עִם לָבָן גַּרְתִּי וָאֵחַר עַד עָתָּה
Breisheit 32:5

Why does Yaacov present these seemingly plain words to Esau on the verge of their upcoming critical and dangerous confrontation? When Yaacov should  really be presenting a deterrent to Esau's forces, he seems to start out this correspondence with just a rather mundane explanation of what he has been up to.

Encoded Message
Lavan contains the letters for the word Naval (נבל), which means disgusting. Says the Noam Elimelech that the Yetzer HaRah is called Naval. When we succeed in mastering both of our inclinations - good and bad - then the Yetzer HaRah turns to Lavan, or pure Heavenly White.  How does one merit this? The main process is through submission, and to consider oneself as in the service of our master.

This is the meaning of the phrase "with Lavan" (עם לבן) which contains the encoded message 'I merited' that is to say Yaacov succeeded in turning 'Naval' to 'Lavan'. The reason for this is "I have sojourned" (גרתי) that this alludes to 'Ger' - the convert, meaning one submitted themself to a greater value.

Keeping Mitzvot
In another explanation: Rashi explains that גַּרְתִּי has the numerical value of 613. Yaacov is really coming to say: I lived with the wicked Laban, but I kept the 613 commandments, and I did not learn from his evil deeds.

No comments:

Post a Comment