In this week’s Torah portion, Vayeitzei, we read of the marriage of Yaakov to Lavan’s two daughters, Rachel and Leah.
Many of the commentaries question this. The Sages teach us that our forefathers kept all of its commands before Hashem gave us the Torah. One of those commands is the prohibition against marrying two sisters; as the Torah says, “you shall not take a woman with her sister in marriage …” This being the case, how was Yaakov, our forefather, permitted to marry Rachel and Leah, who were sisters?
Rashi does not deal with this question. He explains the simple meaning of the Torah, everything a student needs to understand the entire Torah. Yet, he disregards this question. In other words, according to Peshat, there is no question. How can that be?
Before Hashem gave us the Torah, we were considered a unique family among all of the children of Noach. We were commanded to follow the same seven commandments that Hashem commanded the entire population of the world. After He gave us the Torah, the Jews acquired a special status and were obligated to fulfill 613 Mitzvos.
In addition to the seven universal commandments, the world’s population accepted upon themselves other commandments for the benefit of society. These were equally binding upon one and all. For example, it was accepted not to deceive another. Accordingly, we find that Yaakov scolded Lavan, “why have you deceived me?”
These commandments, which were binding upon everyone, took precedence over the 613 commandments of the Torah. For our forefathers keeping the Torah’s Mitzvos was something extra that enhanced their service of G-d. If the fulfillment of any of the 613 commandments would render it impossible to observe one of the binding commandments, they could not fulfill it. Yaakov had already promised that he would marry Rachel. Hence, he was obligated to do so.
Sometimes helping our fellow Jew and keeping our word must take precedence over another law. May we all take care (after checking with a competent Rabbi) that we are not being too religious, and remember to help our fellow Jews.
I wish everyone a good Shabbos.
Rabbi Shmuel Mendelsohn Adapted from Likkutei Sichos Volume 5, Beginning with Page 141
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
. Parshas Acharei, Vayikroh 18:18.
. Our Parshah, Bereishis 29:25.