Insane Lavan

Rabbi Soloveitchik makes a distinction between פרעה and לבן. He says that while פרעה was a slave driver, לבן was criminally insane. He was a mad man. He clearly was a Jew hater.

It took a dream from Hashem Himself to convince לבן that he better leave Yakov alone. He tells Yakov that he did have the power to do them great harm if not for the Divine warning he received.

Lavan’s hatred could have allowed him to hurt his own children and grandchildren. Only a madman is capable of not wishing well to his own family. We must certainly be aware of such individuals who cover up their disdain for us with their smooth tongue.

Another lesson from this is that it is not normal for any parent not to wish their children. When parents are jealous of the success of their children, something is terribly off. A “normal” parent loves all of his children unconditionally and is thrilled if their children surpasses. Anything else, is simply not normal.

Lavan was beyond not normal but valuable lessons can be learned from his extreme behavior.