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Kibbud Av VaEm: No Matter What It Takes

By: Lea Berger and Aria Molavany

In Parshat Vayetze, the Torah discusses Yaakov arriving at the house of Lavan after running away from his brother Esav. He falls in love with Rachel, Lavan's daughter, but is told he must work for seven years in order to marry her. After the completion of seven year, Lavan tricks Yaakov into marrying Leah, Rachel's sister. After Yaakov realizes he is told that he needs to work for seven additional years to marry Rachel.
 
The Torah describes how Yaakov reacted when he first met his future wife, Rachel. It says: “and he raised his voice and cried.” What is the explanation for his tears? 
 
According to Rashi ,  , ; , , . ? , :
 
Another explanation: Since he came empty-handed, he said, “Eliezer, my grandfather’s servant, had nose rings, and bracelets and sweet fruits in his possession, and I am coming with nothing in my hands. [He had nothing] because Eliphaz the son of Esau had pursued him to kill him at his father’s orders; he (Eliphaz) overtook him, but since he had grown up in Isaac’s lap, he held back his hand. He said to him (Jacob), ”What shall I do about my father’s orders?“ Jacob replied,”Take what I have, for a poor man is counted as dead." - [from Bereishit Rabbathi by Rabbi Moshe Hadarshan]
 
Yaakov cried because Eisav’s son, Elifaz, stole all of Yaakov’s belongings, and he didn’t have anything to give to Rachel as a present. On the other hand, Elifaz was concerned about fulfilling his father's commandment to kill Yaakov, his uncle. It’s clear that Elifaz wasn’t ethically permitted to commit such a big sin. The reason he was concerned about fulfilling the commandment from his father was because of Kibbud Av Vaem. Elifaz learned from his father how important this Mitzvah is because it was the only one that Eisav excelled at. Elifaz didn’t end up killing Yaakov, as his father wished but instead, Yaakov told him to take all of his belongings, as that is the equivalent of killing someone.
 
From here, we learn two things. Firstly, always to respect your parents and follow their commandments. But secondly, even if this commandment is very hard to fulfill, there are ways to take a weird path, but ultimately get to your goal of respecting your parents.