Monday, November 20, 2023

Rachel and Leah

This week's Parsha Vayeitze is the Parsha of the week I was born.

Is there any personal significance to the Parsha of the week you were born? Find out here.

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


annie said...

Devorah… is this portion of the week that’s tied to j to our birthday significant for non Jews as well?
(My sister and I are always looking for Jewish ties)

Devorah said...

I guess that's probably a question for a Rabbi, but I'm pretty sure it would be applicable to everyone.

Anonymous said...

My friends, let’s increase our mitzvah observance by doing a special mitzvah. To help the evyonim. Let’s turn our car into a mitzvah mobile and deliver food and supplies to the homeless people. Just a bit more mitzvah and we can hope to become closer to hamoshiach. -Rick

Anonymous said...

Interesting - so I guess Dinah inherited Leah's attributes, because didn't Rabbi Kessin (or was it someone else) say that Yaakov should have married off Dinah to Eisav?

Devorah said...

Yes I think he did say that.

Anonymous said...

Marrying off Leah to Esav was just the way of life then; she was the oldest so originally it was supposed to be that Leah should marry Esav, whereas Yaakov would marry Rochel. This is the reason Chazal tell us that Leah had tired eyes because she was always weeping being so afraid she would have to marry Esav and that idea was too torturous for her. Yaakov fell in love with Rochel as soon as he saw her, but after Rochel had passed, Leah was still alive and Chazel tell here that Yaakov realized that he loved her too because he saw the righteousness in her also.
But diving deeper into the meanings of what we learn in Torah; that because Leah didn't marry Esav and she might have been the one to tame him, so it was her daughter, Dina, who, unfortunately, was assaulted by Shchem. Dina had a daughter because of this episode and the
daughter was named 'Osnat' which means, c'v, taken,captured, raped. The happy part of this sad story is that Osnat winds up getting married to Yoseph Hatzadik and having two tzadikim for their children, Menashe & Ephraim. The mysterious ways of H'!

Anonymous said...

I first heard this about Rochel, Leah, and Osnas well over a decade ago from Rabbi Wallerstein. It was a fascinating shiur. I wish that I could find it again. It was a bit more detailed than Rabbi Kessin's version. Would any of you know where I could get it?

- Hezqi