Monday, November 28, 2011

Rachel and Leah

Vision of Rachel and Leah: Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Lavan had two daughters, the older was was called Leah, and the younger one was called Rachel.
[Vayeitze 29:16]

Rachel represents the approach of tzadikim whose lives are totally holy; and Leah represents the approach of ba'alei teshuvah (penitents) who elevate the secular world to holiness.

Thus, Rachel was naturally attractive: "Rachel had beautiful features and a beautiful complexion" like the tzaddik whose character is flawless; whereas Leah cried profusely, alluding to the process of teshuvah. She was also naturally outgoing, a talent which helps a person to bring the outside world to the realm of holiness.

"Yaakov was an honest person, dwelling in tents" [Toldos 25:27]-  i.e. he busied himself only with matters of holiness - the approach of tzaddikim.  Therefore, people said that Yaakov was destined for Rachel, since their characters matched.  Eisav, on the other hand, was an outgoing "man of the field". Therefore people said that he would be a good match for Leah, for only the talented, outgoing Leah would have the ability to make Eisav do teshuvah.

Source: Based on Likutei Sichos of the Lubavitcher Rebbe: Gutnick Chumash

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