Posts Tagged ‘Rachel’


Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Harran.”—Genesis 28:10

The Torah portion for this week, Vayetze, is from Genesis 28:10–32:3 and Hosea 12:13–14:10.

This week’s Torah portion is called Vayetze, which means ‘and he left.’ The portion could have just as easily been called Vayelech, ‘and he set out,’ and indeed later on down the line we do encounter another reading with that title. But this week’s selection isn’t about going places: It’s about knowing when to leave them.

The reading begins with Jacob leaving his hometown of Beersheba in order to escape his brother’s fury. In last week’s Torah reading, Jacob was able to attain the blessings of the firstborn by tricking his father, Isaac, leaving Esau feeling cheated, even though he had sold Jacob his birthright earlier. Jacob knew that he had to leave if he was going to survive.

Jacob ended up living with his mother’s brother, Laban, where he and Laban’s daughter, Rachel, fell in love. Laban made Jacob work seven years for Rachel’s hand in marriage, and then Laban pulled a last-minute stunt and switched Leah (Rachel’s older sister) for Rachel.

Jewish tradition teaches that Jacob and Rachel had anticipated this possibility and had made up secret signs to exchange under the wedding canopy. But when Rachel realized the amount of humiliation that her sister Leah would feel if she was exposed during the wedding, she relayed the signals to Leah and the wedding went off without a hitch. After all those years of waiting, Rachel could have held her ground, but she walked away in order to spare her sister the pain. In fact, Jacob worked another seven years in order to marry his true love, Rachel.

The Torah portion ends decades after it began with Jacob trying to leave Laban’s home. Laban made his leaving difficult, but Jacob persevered. Once again, he knew it was time to leave and nothing was going to stop him.

This week’s theme is all about knowing when to walk away — physically or emotionally. So much time and energy is wasted because we stay in relationships that are hurtful, or we stay away from loved ones because we can’t let go of past hurts. It’s important to know when it’s time to move on and change directions. But leaving is hard and change can be frightening. So we stay in jobs that drain us and live in places that no longer suit us. True, the unknown is uncomfortable. But it’s even more uncomfortable to stay stooped in a space where you don’t fit and no longer belong.

This week, take the challenge of leaving something behind: a bad habit, a toxic relationship, a never-ending argument, a dead-end job, the computer, the phone – know when to walk away. While it’s important to know where you are headed in life, it’s just as important to know when it’s time to leave the place you are right now.

http://www.holylandmoments.org/devotionals/taking-leave


In time Jacob became very wealthy, and he had large flocks, slaves, and asses. But he heard Laban‘s sons say, “Jacob has taken all that was our father’s, and from that which was our father’s he has gotten all this wealth.” He also saw that Laban did not act toward him the same as before. So Jacob rose and put his sons and his wives upon the camels and drove away all his cattle. He deceived Laban, for he did not tell him that he was fleeing away. So he fled across the river Euphrates, with all that he had, and set out on his way toward Mount Gilead.

Then Jacob sent messengers before him to his brother Esau. And he gave them this command, “Say to my lord Esau: ‘Your servant Jacob declares, I have lived with Laban and have stayed until now. I have oxen and asses, flocks and slaves, and I have sent to tell my lord, in order that I may win your favor.'” The messengers returned to Jacob with the report, “We came to your brother Esau, even as he was coming to meet you with four hundred men.”

Then Jacob was greatly alarmed and worried. So he divided the people that were with him and the flocks and the herds and the camels into two parts and said, “If Esau comes to the one and attacks and destroys it, then the other which is left can escape.”

Jacob also prayed, “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, deliver me, I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear that he will come and attack me and kill the mothers and the children.”

Then Jacob took as a present for his brother Esau, two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, thirty milch camels and their young, forty cows and ten bulls, twenty female asses and ten young asses. These he put, each drove by itself, in the care of his servants and said to them, “Go on before me and leave a space between the droves.”

He gave those in front this command: “When my brother Esau meets you and asks you, ‘To whom do you belong? and where are you going? and whose are these before you?’ then you shall say, ‘To your servant Jacob; it is a present sent by him to my lord Esau; and Jacob himself is just behind us.'” Jacob also commanded the second, and the third, and all that followed the droves, to make the same answer, and to say, “Jacob himself is just behind us.” For he said to himself, “I will please him with the present that goes before me, and then, when I meet him, perhaps he will welcome me.” So he sent the present over before him; but he himself spent that night in the camp.

Later that night he rose up and took his two wives, his two maid servants, and his eleven children, and sent them over the river Jabbok.

Jacob was left alone, and one wrestled with him until daybreak. When he saw that he did not win against Jacob, he struck the socket of his hip, and the socket of Jacob’s hip was strained, as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking.” But Jacob replied, “I will not let thee go unless you bless me.” So he said to him, “What is your name?” He answered, “Jacob.” Then he said, “Your name shall be no longer Jacob, but Israel, which means Struggler with God; for you have struggled with God and with men and have won.” So he blessed him there. And Jacob called the place Penuel, which means Face of God, for he said, “I have seen God face to face, and my life has been saved.”

When Jacob looked up, he saw Esau coming with four hundred men. And he put the maid servants and their children in front, Leah and her children next, and Rachel and her son Joseph in the rear. Then Jacob himself went in front of them, and he bowed down to the ground seven times, as he drew near to his brother. Esau ran to meet him, threw his arms about his neck, and kissed him, and they wept.

When Esau looked up and saw the women and the children, he said, “Who are these with you?” Jacob answered, “The children whom God has so kindly given me.” Then the maid servants with their children came up and bowed down to the ground. Leah and her children also came and bowed down, and afterward Joseph and Rachel came up and bowed down before Esau.

Esau asked, “What do you mean by all this company which I met?” Jacob answered, “To win your friendship, my lord.” Esau said, “I have enough, my brother; keep what you have.” But Jacob replied, “No, if now I have won your favor, receive this present from me to show that you are my friend. Take, I beg of you, the gift that I bring to you, for God has been generous to me, and I have enough.” So he urged Esau until he took it.

Then Esau said, “Let me at least leave with you some of the people who are with me.” But Jacob replied, “What need is there? Let me only enjoy your friendship, my Lord.” So Esau turned back that day on his way to Seir.

http://kids.ochristian.com/Childrens-Bible/Meeting-A-Brother-Who-Had-Been-Wronged.shtml


Then Jacob went on his journey and arrived at the land of the children of the East. And he looked and saw a well in the field, and there were three flocks of sheep lying down by it; for from that well they watered the flocks; but there was a large stone over the well. When all the flocks were gathered there, they used to roll away the stone and water the sheep and then put the stone back in its place over the well.

Jacob said to the men, “My friends, from where do you come?” They said, “We are from Haran.” Then he said to them, “Do you know Laban the son of Nahor?” And they said, “We know him.” And he said to them, “Is all well with him?” And they said, “All is well; indeed, this is Rachel his daughter coming with the sheep.” And he said, “See, the sun is still high! It is not time for the cattle to be gathered together. Water the sheep and feed them.” But they said, “We cannot until all the flocks are gathered together, and they roll away the stone from the well; then we will water the sheep.”

While he was still speaking with them, Rachel came with her father’s sheep; for she was a shepherdess. When Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban, his mother’s brother, and Laban’s sheep, he went up and rolled the stone from the well and watered the flock of Laban his mother’s brother. Then Jacob kissed Rachel and wept aloud. And when Jacob told Rachel that he was a relative of her father and that he was Rebekah‘s son, she ran and told her father.

As soon as Laban heard about Jacob, his sister’s son, he ran to meet him, put his arms around him, kissed him many times, and brought him to his home. When Jacob told Laban all about these things, Laban said to him, “Surely you are my bone and my flesh.” So he remained with him a whole month.

Then Laban said to Jacob, “Should you serve me for nothing simply because you are related to me? Tell me what shall be your wages?” Now Laban had two daughters: the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah’s eyes were weak, but Rachel was beautiful. Jacob loved Rachel, and so he said, “I will serve you seven years for Rachel your younger daughter.” And Laban said, “It is better for me to give her to you than to give her to any other man. Stay with me.” So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days, because he loved her so.

Then Jacob said to Laban, “Give me my wife, for my time is up, and let me marry her.” So Laban gathered all the men of the place and made a feast. In the evening he took Leah his daughter and brought her to him, and Jacob received her as his wife.

When in the morning Jacob found it was Leah, he said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? Did I not serve you for Rachel? Why then have you deceived me?” Laban said, “It is not the custom among us to give the younger in marriage before the older. Remain with this one during the marriage week, then we will give you the other also for the service which you shall give me during seven more years.” Jacob did so: he remained with Leah during the marriage week. Then Laban gave him Rachel his daughter to be his wife, but Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah. So he had to serve Laban seven years more.

http://kids.ochristian.com/Childrens-Bible/The-Deceiver-Deceived.shtml

Mother Rachel

Posted: July 16, 2012 in Holy Land Moments
Tags: , , , , , , ,

This is what the Lord says:  ‘A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.’ This is what the Lord says:  ‘Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded,’ declares the Lord. ‘They will return from the land of the enemy. So there is hope for your descendants,’ declares the Lord. ‘Your children will return to their own land’.” — Jeremiah 31:15–17

According to Jewish tradition, all the patriarchs and matriarchs are buried in the cave of Machpelah in Hebron, except one: Mother Rachel. Her husband Jacob had a good reason for burying her on the road near Bethlehem instead. He foresaw that in the future, when the Jewish people would be exiled from their homeland, they would need her.

Here’s why.

Jewish tradition records a wild debate up in heaven. As the Jews are being exiled from their land, all of the holiest souls try to intercede before God on their behalf.

Abraham speaks first:  “I overcame my nature and was prepared to sacrifice my only son. Won’t you remember my devotion and have mercy on my children?”

Then Isaac tries:  “When I realized that my father had been commanded to slaughter me, I faithfully accepted my fate. Won’t you remember my strength and have mercy on my children?”

Next, Jacob:  “I suffered so much in my lifetime. I had to work for Laban, escape from Esau, and I suffered so much raising my children. Now they are being led like sheep to the slaughter. Won’t you remember my pain and redeem them?”

Then Moses:  “Wasn’t I a loyal shepherd for Israel all the years in the desert? I didn’t even get to enter the Holy Land, but brought them dutifully to its entrance. And now they go into exile – won’t you listen to my cries?”

Finally, Mother Rachel comes before God:  “Master of the Universe, you know that Jacob loved me most and worked for my father for seven years in order to marry me. When the time of my marriage came, my father switched my sister for me and I didn’t begrudge my sister and I didn’t let her be shamed. I had compassion for my sister; won’t you have mercy on my children?”

Immediately, God’s mercy was awakened and He said:  “For you, Rachel, I will bring Israel back, as it says:  “Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded . . . Your children will return to their own land.”

From all of the holy souls that tried to save the Jewish people, Rachel’s merit was greater than everyone else’s. And why? Because she had compassion on another human being. The message is clear. When we treat others with tremendous compassion, God will treat us with nothing less.

http://www.holylandmoments.org/devotionals/mother-rachels-merit