Parashat Vayeitzei (And he went forth)
Torah portion Gen.28:10-32:4
Haftarah (Reading from the Prophets) Hosea 11:7-14:10
In this week’s Torah reading Jacob flees from Beer Sheva and travels north to the home of Laban. There he falls in love with Rachel and they plan to marry. He agrees to work seven years for her hand in marriage; but at the end, deceitful Laban substitutes Rachel’s older sister Leah. When Jacob awakes in the morning he realized what had taken place and he said to Laban,
“What is this you have done to me? Was it not for Rachel that I worked for you? Why have you deceived me?” Genesis 29:25
It is hard to believe that Jacob did not recognize that the woman he was with was not Rachel until the morning, after it was too late to undo the union. It is also hard to believe that Jacob would actually end up with four women that would bear him children rather than just one. Certainly there must be more in this matter than first appears. G-d obviously could have had one woman bear Jacob twelve children. Why use four?
This section teaches one the following Biblical truths: First G-d is in control! Even though Jacob did not want to marry Leah, he did. Leah in fact became Jacob’s primary wife as she bore him the most children and they were buried together in Hebron at the Cave of Machpelah. Jacob wanted Rachel, based on sight (“…Rachel was beautiful of form and beautiful in appearance”- Genesis 29:17), and not on spiritual factors. The fact that he got Leah shows that one should seek G-d’s choice for a spouse and not pursue relationships because of appearances only.
Four women were used to demonstrate an important truth. Four, like the four directions of the world (north, south, east, and west) have a global quality. This fact shows that Israel is not a nation to itself, but tied to all the nations of the world. How so? Remember why G-d brought the Jewish people into existence; in order to bring G-d’s blessings into the world so that all the families of the earth can be blessed (see Genesis 12:3).
G-d used the marriage of Jacob as part of His plan. Each couple needs to realize that in a similar manner, G-d wants to use their marriage as part of His plan. Marriage is a vessel that is a covenant. And as with every covenant, its primary purpose is to reveal G-d’s glory. Each couple needs to ask themselves how their marriage is being used by G-d.
You may feel at times like Jacob—that you were deceived and married the wrong person. Trust that G-d is in control and G-d can turn your covenant marriage into a vessel that can exalt him. Make this your primary objective in your marital relationship and see G-d begin to move in your lives and change how you think of your spouse.
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