I apologize in advance if this is obvious but I simply haven't stumbled on anything which answers this yet.

In Bereishit 31, Hashem gives a message directly to Lavan. Apparently (as reported in the Stone Chumash), the Ramban says that even though Lavan was not a nice guy Hashem came to him in honor of Yaakov. According to the text, there are two differences between what happened and what Lavan reports happened:

  1. The text says (pasuk 24) that hashem had come in a dream, but when Lavan reports this (pasuk 29) he says that Hashem simply spoke to him. I can see that he is making himself seem more special by saying that his level of nevu'ah surpasses requiring a dream state and that Hashem came to him not in a dream but when he was fully awake.

  2. Hashem said to him "hishamer lecha pen tidaber" -- beware, lest you speak... but he reports the conversation as "hishamer lecha midaber" -- beware of speaking (translations from the Stone).

Is there any discussion of the significance of the second difference (and/or something more scholarly about the first difference than my gut reaction)?

  • 1
    The commentators seemed to assume that the latter difference is so minute, as to be insignificant. Indeed, many quote Lavan's wording as what God actually told him, indicating there is nothing inaccurate about it. Regarding the former, as Rambam teaches, prophecies to prophets other than Moshe are always in dreams, (cf. Numbers 2:7), so there is nothing misleading about saying God told him to mean in a dream.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Nov 8, 2017 at 23:13

1 Answer 1


Regarding your first point: In addition to the general understanding that Hashem appearing to someone is generally in a dream (as sourced by @Mevaqesh above), a number of Mefarshim to 31:29 (including Radak, Targum Onkelos, and Targum pseudo-Yonasan) note that Emesh implies the previous night (i.e. during sleep). It is therefore not noteworthy that Lavan says that Hashem spoke to him vs. appeared to him in a dream.

Regarding your second point: Netziv notes the minute change in wording as Lavan attempting to lie to strengthen his position (Netziv is understanding Hashem's warning to Lavan as not talking badly to Yaakov, and Lavan's comments to Yaakov as meaning that Hashem told him (Lavan) not to talk to him (Yaakov) at all):

ואלהי אביכם וגו׳ – שיקר לבן ואמר ליעקב שהקב״ה הזהירו ״מדבר״ כלל, ומ״מ אינו חושש ומדבר, וכך יש בידו לעשות רע.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .