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By: Rav Yonaton Hirschhorn

Parshat Vayetze. Vayetze means to leave, to go out, to leave your comfort zone for others, to put aside your dreams for the sake of something bigger than you. In this week’s Parsha we have the famous story of Yaakov marrying both Rachel and Leah.

In the two ideas before us we will come to understand how each individual (Yaakov Leah and Rachel) leave their comfort zone for the other!

The first question that must be asked is how could Yaakov marry two sisters when it is strictly forbidden by the Torah? We can answer that our Fathers weren't commanded to keep the laws of the Torah since they lived before the giving of the Torah. Nonetheless, they took to keep its laws upon themselves. Yaakov teaches us a beautiful and important lesson in this story; that another person's feelings are more important than the stringencies that I take upon myself. Yaakov put aside his desire to fulfill the Torah in order not to hurt Leah's feeling! What tremendous sensitivity! Instead of throwing Leah out because he wanted to marry Rachel, he decides to give up his stringencies in order to spare Leah any embarrassment or hurt feelings, and in the end, ends up marrying the both of them. This is what the nation of Israel is all about; giving up on what might seem like the most important thing to you, for someone else.

I want to share with you a gevalt Torah from the sefer "Even Shlomo", Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach's commentary on the Torah:

And it was in the evening that he took Leah his daughter and brought her to him” (Bereishis 29:23)

“Everybody knows that Rachel was supposed to marry Ya’akov. But Lavan took her sister Leah and put her in Rachel’s place. Now listen to this. Ya’akov and Rachel had a little secret between them. Rachel and Leah looked so much alike. They were built the same, they looked the same. They even had the same voices. So Lavan said to Leah, “Listen, I’m sending you to Ya’akov instead of Rachel. Ya’akov will ask you who you are, and you must answer ‘I’m Rachel.’” But Rachel had a deal with Ya’akov. She suspected that her father Lavan might try to trick him with Leah. So she told Ya’akov, “You will ask me at night who I am, and I will say Leah. Then you will know I am really Rachel.” So you see, all Rachel had to do was not say anything to Leah. Leah was going to say she was Rachel, and Ya’akov would have known it was a trick. But Rachel made a point to say to her sister, “When Ya’akov asks you who you are, say that you are Leah.”  What’s going on here? I remember that when I was a little boy, my father would point this out to me every Shabbos Vayeitzei. It says, “vayehi baboker v’hineh hi Leah” (Bereishis 29:25), and when morning came – she really was Leah. What does that mean? Leah never said that she was Rachel. Ya’akov couldn’t even say that she was lying, because all night she really was saying that she was Leah. Let me ask you the deepest question in the world. What was Rachel doing that night? Gevalt, how much was she davening. So it says, “Rachel mevaka al bane’ha” (Yirmiyahu 31:14). Do you know what is going to bring our children back home? Rachel, who is crying for her children. So God said, “Rochel’e, I hear you when you cry, so I’m bringing your children back.” I have no words for this depth. This is deeper than Ya’akov, even deeper than Leah. As much as Leah is the mother of Mashiach, the Messiah won’t be able to do anything without our children. And who is mamesh the mother of our children? Rachel, because whatever she davened for on that fateful night is what will bring Mashiach.

Who was the first Jew who felt, God forbid, disconnected from Yiddishkeit? Listen to this way out thing. The first Jew who felt disconnected from Yiddishkeit was our mother Rachel on the night that Ya’akov married Leah. She didn’t know that one day he would also marry her, so on that night she felt that she had lost her connection to him. Gevalt was she praying, “Please Ribbono Shel Olam, I don’t know how . . . I don’t know how, but please connect me to Ya’akov – and to You – again.” Sometimes we feel that there is no way to reconnect. But “Rachel mevaka al bane’ha,” Rachel is crying for her children. This is what will bring our children back to Yerushalayim."

In this amazing piece above we see the incredible greatness of our mothers; Leah who did not lie about her identity, no matter how much she might have wanted to, caring about the truth more than about herself. And Rachel giving up everything for her sister and yet not giving up on herself, on her offspring, and on the Jewish nation!

If we can take the greatness of our father Yaakov, caring about others above what is most important to me, the greatness of our mother Leah and her connection to truth, and the greatness of our mother Rachel who cared so much about the future of Am Yisrael, these three qualities, without a doubt, can make us into better, more refined Jews and hopefully bring forth Moshiach tzeidkenu b'mehera b'yameinu, amen. 

Good Shabbos.




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