The Basis of Anti-Semitism

In Genesis 31:1 we read

“And he (Jacob) heard

the words of Laban’s sons…”

וישמע את דברי בני לבן

Anti-Semitism starts with

evil speaking and accusations

against Jacob or Israel.

We read further

“Saying, Jacob has taken away

all that was our father’s;

and of all that which was our father’s

has he gotten all this glory (wealth).”

לאמר לקח יעקוב

את כל אשר לאבינו

וּמאשר לאבינו עשה

את כל הכבוד הזה:

This is nothing less than envy

which is the root or basis of anti-Semitism.

This envy falls into three categories:

1. Envy of wealth.

Here the scripture uses the word

glory כבוד for wealth.

2. Envy of intelligence.

There is the question

“Why are Jews so smart?”

It ends with accusations of stealing

and using devious methods.

This thought process

changes the people’s face.

The countenance and favor turns sour.

In Genesis 31:2 it says

“And Jacob beheld the countenance of Laban,

and, behold, it was not toward him

as before.”

וירא יעקוב את פני לבן

והנה איננו עמו

כתמול שלשום:

3. Envy of the covenant and blessing of G-d.

These accusations of the sons of Laban

were the same accusations that

were hurled against the Jews in Germany.

In Genesis 31:3

HASHEM immediately speaks to Jacob

and tells Jacob to return

to his own country,

the land of Israel,

and gives him the promise

and I will be with you .”

“And HASHEM said to Jacob,

Return to the land of your fathers,

and to your kindred:

and I will be with you.”

ויאמר יהוה אל יעקוב

שוב אל ארץ אבותיך


ואהיה עמך:

The Hebrew word for

‘I will be’ אהיה

is the first part of the

Name of G-d that he revealed

to Moses in Exodus 3:14.

It is the ‘I AM’.

“And G-d said to Moses,


and he said, Thus shall you say

to the children of Israel,

I AM has sent me to you.”

ויאמר אלהים אל משה

אהיה אשר אהיה

ויאמר כּה תאמר לבני ישראל

אהיה שלחני אליכם:

G-d spoke to the Jews

to get out of Nazi Germany

before the Holocaust

and to return to the land of Israel

where he would BE WITH US.

He said to take their wealth,

but they did not want to take their wealth.

The name of Laban לבן

means ‘white’ in Hebrew.

This signifies that he was

righteous in his own eyes.

He was ‘religious’.

He was a Syrian.

He and his sons pursued Jacob.