Vayishlach: Zeal!

Well, once again, El Al (Every Landing, Always Late) has decided to put the blame on the (religious) Jews.  El Al pilots, by being part of the flight after X amount of time, receive a nice "bonus’" for the "extra work."  It was part of their "negotiations" that they did a few years back.  That’s why El Al is ranked one of the worst airlines in terms of timetables.  (I got this confirmed with the son of one of the pilots.)  It seems, every so often, they put the blame on the “Ultra-Orthdox,” saying that passengers got violent, etc. They did it around six months ago, until both religious and secular passengers wrote publically that it was flat-out not true (but the damage was already done).  Now they were super-late again.  But this time it was on erev Shabbos (and it turns out I know somebody who was on the flight).  Without going into all the details, the captain and crew lied throughout the entire time.  For example, they promised that when everybody would sit down, they would return to the gate so the religious passengers could get off.  Once that was accomplished, they proceeded to take off.  They ended up having to land in Athens, and only thanks to somebody important on the plane and his ability to connect with the local Chabad, were they to have Shabbos.  After the fiasco, El Al blamed the lateness of the flight on the “Ultra-Orthodox,” who were “getting violent” and “tried to charge the cockpit.”  Their friends in the Israeli news even DOCTORED a video from the flight to make it look like that is what happened (they later offered an apology for the "technical failure").  Unfortunately for El Al, people have been talking and writing about the incident, including one Ultra-Orthodox reporter with big connections, and a National-Religious Knesset member, so word is finally getting out.  A class-action law suit will begin soon, and hopefully El Al will take the punishment it’s been deserving for such a long time.


On to more important things . . .

“[Yaakov said:] I have lived with Lavan” (Bereishis 32:5).


Rashi comments that the word “I have lived” (in Hebrew) has the numerical value of 613, as in, the amount of mitzvos in the Torah.  Yaakov was saying, “I lived with Lavan and kept the commandments, and I did not learn from his bad deeds.”


Rav Elchonon Wasserman, quotes his rebbe, the Chofetz Chaim, who said that Yaakov was actually finding fault in himself.  When Lavan did something improper, he did it with as much enthusiasm as possible.  He went all the way.  Similar to El Al and the Israeli news, nothing, even the truth, won’t stop Lavan (and friends) from getting what they want.


Yaakov thought that perhaps he SHOULD have learned something from Lavan.  Zeal!


The Chofetz Chaim used to say that today we need to learn from the enthusiasm and energy of the spiritual descendants of Lavan.  Just as they pursue their goals to the very end, with as much energy as possible, so too, should we pursue OUR goals with as much energy as possible.


Have a great Shabbos!

Michael Winner