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Speak Neither for Good nor Bad

In this week’s Torah portion, God appears to Lavan in a dream and tells him not to speak to Yaakov (Jacob) either for the good or the bad. I love this passage as it shows two principles, one about prophecy and one about the way we are to exist in the world.

Lavan receiving a prophetic dream is a rare instant of what I refer to as third person prophecy. Third person prophecy is when someone received prophecy not from their own merits, but from the merits of another. In other words, the power of the prophet can be so powerful that it can overflow to other non-prophets. We see this when King Shaul attempts to kill David. David flees to Shmuel (Samuel) who neutralizes Shaul and his messengers by causing them to experience prophecy.

So why is it that during this prophetic dream he is told not to speak to Yaakov either for the good or the bad. Not to speak for the bad seems obvious, but why not speak for the good? Lavan is one who likes to twist truth. We see throughout the story that he is constantly scheming and conniving. From such a person, even what sounds good can ultimately be bad. Thus, he is told to not speak at all.

We see from both of these aspects the tremendous impact that our own personal development can have upon the world around us. When you build yourself into a force for good, that goodness can elevate others as well. Yet, when you allow yourself to become twisted, you find that even the good you wish to do is unwelcome.

I bless us all strengthen ourselves, to bring so much light into our lives that it radiates out to all.

Shabbat Shalom

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