In this week’s Torah portion, Vayeitzei, we read how Yaakov Avinu worked for his uncle Lovon for seven years. His object was to wed Lovon’s daughter, Rochel. Lovon, who did not have a reputation for being honest, deceived him; he gave him his older daughter Leah instead of Rochel. Yaakov agreed to work for an additional seven years, in order to wed Rochel.
When the seven years came to an end, Yaakov told his father-in-law, “Give me my wife (Rochel), for my days are completed, in order that I may come to her.’” Rashi cites the words from this verse “for my days are completed.” He explains Yaakov’s seemingly immodest talk as follows. “… My days are completed, for I am already eighty-four years old. When will I raise up twelve tribes? This is what he meant by saying ‘that I may come to her.’ Now, isn’t it true that even the most degenerate person would not speak like that? But Yaakov meant that his intention was to father generations.”
In other words, Yaakov knew prophetically that he would father the twelve tribes of the Jewish Nation. The entire Jewish people would descend from these tribes. He was already quite old. He exclaimed that he needed to marry already in order to be able to fulfill his destiny.
One may ask, that despite Rashi’s explanation, Yaakov’s words appear to be quite inappropriate. How did he speak that way; the Torah commands us to always speak in the nicest and most proper way possible.
This can be understood based on what the Alter Rebbe writes in Tanya regarding the Patriarchs. “They were completely holy and detached from matters of this world … throughout their lives.”
In other words, the Avos’ lives were totally focused on serving Hashem; there was nothing else. Therefore, when Yaakov said the words “that I may come to her, he saw one thing only. All that it meant to him was fathering the Tribes of Israel, and ultimately the entire Jewish People. In his eyes, there was nothing improper or immodest about it.
As is the case with every word of Torah, it must teach us a lesson. Each one of us must perform the same actions as our forefathers. However, He does not expect us to reach the spiritual level of Avrohom, Yitzchok, and Yaakov. However, we must strive to focus on the service of Hashem with every fiber of our being.
Wishing everyone a good Shabbos.
Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn
Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 5, Page 111
IN LOVING MEMORY OF OUR FATHER
Mr. Sholom Moshe Hacohen
ben Reb Shlomo Meir Hacohen ע”ה Cohen
Passed away Shabbos Parshas Beshalach, 13 Shevat, 5779
May His Soul be bound in the Eternal Bond of Life
DEDICATED BY HIS SON-IN-LAW AND DAUGHTER
RABBI SHMUEL AND RIFKA שי’MENDELSOHN
* * *
ר’ שלום משה הכהן בן ר’ שלמה מאיר הכהן ע”ה כהן
נפטר ש”ק פ’ בשלח, י”ג שבט, ה’תשע”ט
ת. נ. צ. ב. ה.
יו”ל ע”י חתנו ובתו שיחיו
הרה”ת ר’ שמואל ורבקה שי’ מענדלסאהן
. Our Parshah, Bereishis 29:21.
. See Likkutei Amorim Chapter 23.