03 December 2017

Leah's Children

16 Kislev 5778

Rahel and Leah, source

Over the High Holidays of 5778 (Yamim Nora'im), I gained an insight into something most of us don't think about: Do you realize that most of us Jews are the children of Leah Imenu (our mother)?

I was hoping to get this posted in time for Parashath Vayetze'; but, obviously, I didn't make it in time. But thinking about Leah's impact on us is as timeless as that of all the other Imahoth. If not more, at least in one aspect, due to sheer numerical superiority.

We can learn much from studying her. She is not mentioned often, and of course we are also children of her sister Rahel, since she is the "aqeret habayit" (the head of the household among the women). But since we inherit the traits of those we are descended from, most of us (six tribes' worth; also, Rahel's son Yosef's two tribes of Ephraim and Menashe, whom we learn from commentary are descended from Leah's daughter Dina through her daughter Asenath/Osnat) are descended from her.

I am not here to present hiddushim (new insights); it's just something hiding in plain sight, that's all.

The main thing is that the majority of Jews have absorbed Leah's rejection by her husband Ya'aqov Avinu (our father), whether self-perceived or objectively viewed, as well as her hope that things will turn out well in the end, if only we will hold out for it.

It explains (to me, at least) why our first reaction after arriving at home after nearly 2,000 years of exile was not exactly to head straight for the finish line (although I think our ancestors were thinking, hoping, and praying just exactly that.). After all. we've been crying our eyes out for nearly two millennia, and our (in)sight is not exactly what it used to be. However, our hope that Mashiah will be revealed once, for all, and forever has not dimmed in the least, even though there have been fakers and liars along the way. And let's not forget that except for Mashiah ben Yosef, the redeemed government leadership is mostly made up of Leah's descendants!

I say "mostly" because the head of the Sanhedrin of 70 could be a ben Binyamin, Naftali or Dan (who were not descended from Leah), Asher or Gad (who were Leah's legally but not physically). But the Mashiah and the Kohen Gadol are both from Leah.

We need some rest after all we've been through. Doing teshuva (returning to our Jewish life and relationship with HQB"H) ensures that we can see that and much, much more!

I have had other thoughts too, but I haven't been able to get them to come down here when I approach my notebook or the keyboard...!

See more background here (Thanks to Geula613!).

Also see Rahel and Leah: Two Destinies, Two Worlds (Chana Weisberg, Chabad) 
 and The Women in Jacob's Life (Bible Study Connection).

Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher takes over from here, with his recent video from Parashath VaYetze'.

Meanwhile, the footsteps are growing louder, louder and louder...

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