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 his older daughter Leah instead of Rochel. Yaakov agreed to work for an additional seven years 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 complete, so that I may come to her.'” Rashi cites the words from this verse “for my days are complete.” He explains Yaakov’s seemingly immodest talk as follows. “… My days are complete, for I am already eighty-four years old. When will I raise 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 to be able to fulfill his destiny.
One may ask that despite Rashi’s explanation, Yaakov’s words appear to be inappropriate. How did he speak that way; the Torah commands us always to talk most nicely and properly.
We can understand this 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. It meant that he needed to father 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 the Torah, it must teach us a lesson. Each one of us must perform the same actions as our forefathers. However, Hashem 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.
I wish one and all a good Shabbos.
Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn
Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 5, Page 111
DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE LUBAVITCHER REBBE
IN LOVING MEMORY OF
MRS. MINDEL RIVKA (MURIEL) BAS REB MENACHEM MENDEL SHLOMO ע”ה STITT
PASSED AWAY ON SHABBAT PARSHAS LECH LECHA, 10 MAR-CHESHVAN, 5782
MAY HER SOUL BE BOUND IN THE ETERNAL BOND OF LIFE
IN HONOR OF
The Soldiers of Tzivos Hashem Chaim and Aiden Oded שיחיו Morris
DEDICATED BY THEIR PARENTS
Rabbi & Mrs. Menachem M. and Chaya Mushka שיחיו Morris
. Our Parshah, Bereishis 29:21.
. See Likkutei Amorim Chapter 23.