Parashat Vayeitzei (And he (Jacob) went out) Genesis 28:10-32:1
Haftarah: Hosea 11:7-14:10
In this week’s Torah portion there is a strange passage concerning an ancient tradition regarding fertility. When speaking about the Matriarchs they all had something in common— they had problems conceiving a child. Although Leah had no problem becoming pregnant at first, after her fourth son Judah, she became barren. In order to help his mother, Reuben went out and found a certain type of vegetation called dudaim. Although many have translated this Hebrew word in a variety of different ways, the truth of the matter is that no one knows what dudaim are.
Regardless of not knowing their true identity, it is clear from the text that people held that these dudaim contained some special attributes that assisted women in conceiving. In this section (See Genesis 30:9-21) when Rachel heard that Reuben had found dudaim and had brought them to his mother, Leah, Rachel wanted them for herself so she could conceive. It is most significant that Leah gave them to her, but only for the right to lay with Jacob that night. One learns in verse 17 that Leah conceived but without any so-called “power” from the dudaim. She conceived because,
“And G-d heard Leah and she conceived and bore to Jacob a fifth son.” Genesis 30:17
In other words, it is through the power of prayer and not some silly superstition that is commonly held by many individuals that Leah bore three more children. It was only after HaShem finished giving conception to Leah that Rachel once again became pregnant, but not by the dudaim, for the Torah states,
“And G-d remembered Rachel and heard her and G-d opened her womb.” Gen. 30:22
It is clear that Rachel learned that not by the dudaim, but by prayer and the mercy of G-d that she returned to bearing children, for at least three years had passed from the time that she had received the dudaim from Leah. I emphasize G-d’s mercy because of the fact that the same Hebrew verb is used to form both the word mercy and womb.
Unfortunately, I hear many people resorting to various means to accomplish their desires, rather than simply seeking HaShem by praying in the name of Yeshua. So often these means are rooted in strange traditions and odd practices. Even those who profess to be G-d fearing and Torah guided, practice such behaviors which are an abomination to our L-rd.
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