The Chofetz Chaim asks a rather pertinent question in our sedra. The years of galus were already being counted when Yaakov lived in Lavan’s home. If so, why did HaShem make Yaakov go down to Egypt and continue the galus there; why not stay with Lavan? The Chofetz Chaim answers that this is because the galus of Lavan is too hard. The galus of someone who pretends to be your friend is much harder than the galus of an enemy who makes it obvious that he’s your enemy. The tortures that the Jews faced in Russia were awful and unbearable - but we have lost many more Jews to the ‘friendly’ tide of assimilation in America than that of the Jews in Russia. In Vayishlach, Yaakov prays ‘please save me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Eisav’ (32:12) - ‘my brother’ refers to the Lavan-type ‘friendly galus,’ whilst ‘the hand of Eisav refers to the overtly anti-Semitic galus.’ And Yaakov put the friendly galus first in his prayers - for that is the galus which poses the most danger to the Jewish People. ..

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