“Go and learn” our Chachomim tell us. Let’s study the story of our Egyptian exile. Let’s find out who our enemies are and learn about their true intentions. “Pharaoh wanted to destroy only the males, while Lovon tried to destroy us all”, And so the story of our Egyptian exile unfolds with a blood relative by the name of Lavan .”Arami oved ovi vayered mitzrayim” – “Arami is out to destroy my father-and so we went down to Egypt” is how the story of our nation began. Yet one wonders. Why use the nickname of Arami? Why not call him Lovon which is far more familiar? Furthermore, the word “oveid” is written in the present tense when it should actually have been written in the past tense. After all, it’s something that happened many years ago! Beside, was Lovon really such a bad guy as the Haggadah makes him out to be? He just seems to be very dishonest and a big cheater, but he didn’t kill anyone. So why portray him as being worse then Pharoh who tried killing and drowning all our boys and was guilty of murder?
In order to understand what’s happening, let’s go back and carefully examine Yaakov’s peace pact with Lovon for it will reveal something very strange indeed. The Torah tells us that they erected a pile of stones which Lovon called “Yegar Sahadusah,” while Yaakov called it “Gal’ed”. Yegar Sahadusah is nothing but the Aramaic translation of Gal’ed, so why does the Torah have to tell us what Lovon called it? Just look up the Aramaic equivalent, and you’ll know what the word Gal’ed means in Aramaic. This should have best been left for Unkelus. It’s highly unusual to have Aramaic words in the Torah, especially when there doesn’t seem to be any reason for it.
As one continues studying the parsha, one is struck by many other strange thing said by Lavan. For instance, Lavan makes mention of some deal he made with Yaacov at a place called Mitzpah, yet nowhere earlier do we find mention of such a deal. The meforshim seem to have much difficulty trying to figure out to which deal Lavan is referring to, since we find no previous mention of it!
We also find what seems to be a very strange gemara in Mesechta Shabbos (12) that says that one should never ask for one’s needs in Aramaic because the heavenly angels don’t understand this particular language. This seems rather odd. If the Malachim can even read our very thoughts, then they surely should understand this language as well? This is Tosefos’s difficult question (which he leaves unanswered). Is the Aramaic language any more difficult to learn than any other, that the Malachim simply can’t figure it out? If they comprehend all the other sixty nine languages, then why can’t they learn this one as well? Is it more difficult than Chinese or Japanese? And if indeed they don’t know the language, why can’t they go study it? After all, how long would it take a Malach to learn a new language? Yosef was able to learn all the seventy languages in just one night. Or is it perhaps such a terrible and deceitful language that they simply refuse to study or respond to it? But why?
One also wonders why there are certain tefillos such as Kaddish, Yekum Purkon and Akdomos which are written in Aramaic? Isn’t this a no no?
Perhaps the answer is that Lovon was called Arami because the word connotes a cheater and a fraud. He spoke from two sides of his mouth. He said one thing but meant another. He made an agreement with Yaakov to give him “Rochel, his younger daughter”, yet when it came to the actual wedding he substituted Leah instead. His word as well as his signature could never be trusted. He was a master at writing contracts that could easily be misinterpreted. He always switched the language around so that it was very vague and could always be misinterpreted. His agreements weren’t worth the paper they were written on! Words have more than one meaning and it’s certainly not too difficult for Lovon Ho’arami the master of deception and chicanery to use words in his agreement that are vague or have a dual meaning. When we translate a word into another language we must be very careful. When we translate the word “because” into the Hebrew word “Ki.” We must be very careful, since the word “Ki” in Hebrew has three other translations. Someone reading the contract in the Hebrew version may later claim that he meant one of the other three meanings.
Yet Aramaic is not just a language in which a word can have more than one meaning. It is one where the very same word can have two opposite meanings. “Yes” can mean “no” and “no” can mean “yes” .For example take the word “in” which is in the gemara (which is written in Aramaic.) “in” can be translated as yes or can also be translated as “no”. “Jihad” doesn’t mean a holy war, claims Arafat; it simply means a friendly peace pact. Politicians are masters at such deception. They use it all the time. Later, when they are caught with an outright lie, they always claim that it meant something else. When someone can later claim that “is” is not really “is” but is another” is” then he’s a real master of Arami’s tactics!
Those who are familiar with the Camp David agreement signed by Egypt and Israel surely know that even though the Arabic and Hebrew versions are supposedly an accurate translation of the English version, the Israelis and Egyptians still can’t agree on the exact meaning of many of its clauses. The Hebrew version does not match the Arabic version. There are countless discrepancies. That’s because the English version was worded very diplomatically. It’s written in the language of Lovon Ho’arami, a language of deceit, deception and double talk. It uses words that will satisfy both sides. Each one can later interpret it the way he wants. This way both sides would agree to sign the agreement, each being able to interpret the language in the way they understood it. The better the politician and diplomat, the better he is in being able to use words that are both vague and have a double meaning. Later when there is a question of what it means each side gives the words a different twist and meaning. This is the language of Lovon Ho’arami. Even when he clearly wrote “Rochel, my youngest daughter,” he wiggled his way out of it. He must have had a different version or explanation of the agreement or perhaps it was all a “misunderstanding ” or “just an oversight”. Just read some of the U.N. resolutions and you will get a sample of this type of language called diplomacy. Lovon’s contract was probably no different then today’s Oslo agreement which both sides interpret quite differently.
While Yaakov wrote the agreement in Hebrew and therefore called the agreement Galed, Lovon wrote it in Aramaic and therefore called it Yigar Sahadusah. Lovon felt much more at home using Aramaic since in this language the words are not so clear and are easier to misinterpret. Leave it to Lovon who was a master diplomat and has an amazing talent and ability at deceiving others with words. After all, Lovon was the father and originator of all “Ramais”; he was the greatest cheater and deceiver of them all. He was the forerunner of today’s politician. He was the master diplomat-he spoke a perfect Aramaic-a language of deceit and double talk.
Malachim simply can’t relate to this kind of double talk called Aramaic-the deceitful language of Lovon and his politicians. After all, angels can read a person’s thoughts, and so when the words exiting from the mouth don’t match what they see in the person’s brain,, they realize at once that they are full of deceit and falsehoods and want no part of them. They dare not bring such deceitful words in front of the Heavenly Throne!
When one prays to Hashem and pleads with His Maker to please give him lots on money so that he will be able to learn Torah all day, give lots of tzedokah and build a beautiful shul and yeshivah for the community, the angels read our mind as well as our lips. Our brain waves show that what we really want is a Lexus, a condominium in Florida and other luxuries, while our lips cry out that it’s all l’shem Shomayim. The angels, however, can read our thoughts and know what’s going on. You can’t fool them! Our brain waves simply don’t match the words coming out of our mouths. Our words are filled with deceit! How dare they bring such words in front of the Heavenly Throne. It’s outright hypocrisy. It’s the language of Lovon Ho’arami-the master conniver and cheater. It’s insincere and hypocritical! They would be severely punished if they would repeat them in front of the King of Kings. (This is why the Gemorah uses the terminology that the angels are not nizkak to this language. They don’t want to understand it because it’s contradictory, deceitful and confusing, and not because it’s difficult to learn.) The mouth and heart must be saying the same thing.
The particular language of Aramaic is one filled with words that have a duel and sometimes opposite meaning. It is filled with deceit. The Chachomim who wrote Kaddish, Yekum Purkon and Akdomos were very careful to choose Aramaic words that cannot be misinterpreted. And if your wondering about the deal Lovan says he made with Yaakov at the place called Mitzpah, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Do you know anything about the deal the Syrian President made with Rabin about giving back the Golan Heights? Obviously you don’t! That’s because there probably never was any such deal. Leave it to a master cheater to make all sorts of preposterous claims which never took place. They learned it all from Lavan Ho’arami – Lovan the master scam artist and cheater who suddenly came up with a deal he claimed he made at a place called Mitzpah, yet no one ever heard of such a deal and in all probability it never took place!
Arafat, Arami’s prize student (and Israel’s partner in peace!?), tells Israel that he is for peace and against all terrorism and then turns around and gives Hamas the green light to continue to attack her from someplace else so that he shouldn’t get the blame. He accepts the peace prize while at the same time eulogizes mass murderers and terrorists such as the “engineer” as freedom fighters and promises them a place in heaven yet still claims he is for peace. He frees all the Hamas murderers from jail so that they can continue their murderous rampage, but still continues to claim that he is against all forms of terrorism! This is the language of Lovon Ho’arami. Anyone that has studied Lovon’s tactics in Chumash (with the interpretation of Chazal,) clearly understands their meaning. Arami’s real intention is to destroy our mesorah-all that is sacred to Klal Yisroel. Arafat doesn’t want just Yerushalayim; he wants the entire country; from east to west and from north to south! “Your daughters are my daughters, your sons are my sons, your sheep are my sheep, and everything you own is mine” (Vayetzei 31). He claims that all of Israel is his including the Temple Mount! Despite Lovon’s promises of peace and claim of love for Yaakov, we know that he wants to destroy us completely (Lovon bi’kaish laakor es hakol.), He will not stop until he has driven Israel into the sea! His hatred for Yaakov is ever present (Oveid is in the present tense). It continues on throughout all generations- (Sebchol dor v’dor omdim oleinu l’chalnosheinu) He tries to drag us down into the tumah of Mitzrayim-Vayeired Mitzrayim. He knows that this is the best way to ,chas v’shalom, destroy us completely.
The gemara in Mesecta Brachos warns us not to sit on an Aramaic bed. because of what once happened to Rabbi Pappa. Rashi explains that there was once this women who had a dead baby who wanted to put the blame on the Rabbi so she put the dead baby on the bed and covered it with a blanket. She figured that when the rabbi will sit down on the bed she would then blame him for having killed the child. This is not much different then when Arab children get killed in a cross fire of their own soldiers bullets and later blame the Israelis for having killed them. Lovon Ho’arami is still alive and kicking!
Klal Yisroel must realize that it has no true friend. Even those that shower us with gifts and kindness can never be fully trusted for they have their own agenda as the gemorah tells us on the first daf of Mesechta Avodah Zorah. While on the surface they seem to be our very best friend and want to give us millions of dollars in loans and guarantees, they speak no differently then Lovon Ho’arami. We’ve learned this bitter lesson over and over again throughout history. Our best friends have always turned their backs on us in time of need. Just listen to the Nixon tapes to get a clue of what the goyim really think of Israel; if only they could make it disappear-chas v’shalom. When we dare build housing on our very own land, we are condemned by the entire world, including our best friend-the U.S.A.. When we stood vulnerable and easy prey for an Egyption invasion in ’67, the U.N. peacekeeping forces suddenly disappeared into the night. It was only “Hakodosh Boruch Hu that saved us from their hands”/ When Israel blew up Iraq’s nuclear reactor in an act of self-defense, its action was denounced even by our best friends . Israel has no right to protect itself from atomic annihilation. And so, when Israel closes its borders so that Palestinian terrorists can’t blow up innocent men, women and children, there’s a world uproar. Leave it to us, they said . “We’ll protect you from the scud missiles.” Yet today we all know that the American Patriot missile was nothing but a mirage. It’s time we put our trust in Hashem rather than in the promises of politicians that speak to us in Aramaic. Believing politicians in their false hopes of peace only leads us deeper into the Egyption exile. Their promises of “Land for peace” are no better than their promises to revoke their Charter calling for the total destruction of Israel!
Is it a wonder then, that Arami’s Oslo Peace Pact can’t be trusted if even the angels themselves refuse to deal with a language so full of deception?