Friend or Foe
Vayetzei (Genesis 28:10-32:3 )
And it was, when Lavan heard the news of Yaakov his sister's son, he ran toward him, embraced him, kissed him, and took him to his house. (Gen. 29:13)
Rashi writes that Lavan ran toward Yaakov since he was certain that Yaakov had come laden with wealth and precious gifts. Seeing that he was empty-handed, Lavan thought that Yaakov had probably brought diamonds concealed under his clothes. He embraced Yaakov and slid his fingers over Yaakov's garments, but felt nothing. He then thought that perhaps Yaakov was afraid of being robbed, and had hidden his valuables in his mouth. Lavan kissed him lovingly, but again came up with nothing.
Why does Rashi interpret Lavan's actions in a negative light; maybe he was hugging and kissing him because he was his nephew?
People can be very friendly and act like you're a close acquaintance, but in truth they just want to borrow your car or garner another favor from you. As soon as they get what they need they disappear. It's as if they never knew you. At the end of the parsha, when Yaakov and his family were departing from Lavan's house, the verse says that Lavan kissed his daughters and grandsons but not Yaakov. Why didn't he kiss Yaakov? Lavan already knew that he was empty-handed, so there was no longer any reason to kiss him!(1)
A true friend is not someone that hugs and kisses you for your money. A true friend is someone who cares about you - despite what he gets in return. The way for one to obtain such friends is to be that type of friend yourself! Genuinely care for others and do things that are in their best interest.
1. Chofetz Chaim.