Guest Post by Reb Ari Waldman @ Mystical Paths
Yaakov Avinu worked faithfully for his father in law Lavan for twenty years.
At the end of this time Lavan and his sons are convinced that any wealth that Yaakov Avinu amassed really came from his robbing them! The pasuk says "And Yaakov heard the words of Lavan's sons who said that "Yaakov took all that was our fathers and from our father's possessions he became wealthy".
Afterwards it says "And Yaakov saw that Lavan's face wasn't the same as earlier days and Hashem said to Yaakov "go to your father's land and birthplace and I'll be with you".
The Chafetz Chaim (Al Hatorah) says that this tells us how to behave as a nation. When nations start slandering us and making us look like robbers like Lavan's sons did, we needn't react. We can hear our "shame" and not respond.
However, when their leaders show us their angry "faces", not like earlier days, we must seek refuge. As a nation, the best place of refuge is in the land of our fathers. Hashem instructed Yaakov Avinu to go there and that's what we must do!
Later, Yaakov is upset at Lavan for going through all of Yaakov's possessions and asks "How have I wronged you that you've chased after me and gone through all my possessions?" Lavan answers "The daughters are my daughters and the sons are my sons and everything you see is mine!" Lavan didn't answer Yaakov's question! But if you think about it his answer is astounding!!
"Yaakov my dear son in law you don't even (have a right to) exist as far as I'm concerned! Everything here is mine! Who are you anyway?!"All of Yaakov's words fell on deaf ears!!
Of course Yaakov knew the truth that all of Lavan's success was only because of Yaakov's gruelingly hard work! Even Yaakov's wealth was from a lot of hard work and Hashem evening out the score after Lavan cheated him over one hundred times!!
Hashem even told Yaakov so! But all that was lost on Lavan. He couldn't care less!! Yaakov was right telling Lavan "If it weren't for Hashem's assistance you would have sent me away penniless!
But Lavan thinks "What an ingrate! If anything, Yaakov should be grateful to me for providing him with employment after taking him in penniless!!" That's what it looks like in Lavan's eyes!!
What can we learn from this "dialog"?
The Chafetz Chaim says this is what the nations think of us in our exile! We work hard and with Hashem's help, bring benefit and livelihood to all the nations!
We may even make a living for ourselves if we're careful! But they, on the other hand, say "everything you see is mine"!
Whatever we say will fall on deaf ears!!
If you think about it The Chafetz Chaim was talking about Clal Yisrael in golus.
Now that we're in Eretz Yisrael you'd think it would be different!
But the nations still deny we have a right to exist and no matter what we say, it'll still fall on deaf ears!!
We must be grateful to the British, the gracious hosts that benevolently gave us this holy land!! They and the rest of the nations would love to see us disappear!! But we, like Yaakov received word from Hashem.
Parnassa and wealth didn't come from Lavan to Yaakov, it came from Hashem! Likewise, Eretz Yisrael is not a magnanimous gift from the nations for us to have a homeland after the war!
It's an eternal birthright given to us by Hashem! This is for us to know!
Don't even bother telling the nations. It'll just fall on deaf ears!!