Dvar Torah for Parshat VaYetze


Based on Rabbi Nachman's Wisdom #106

"Leah had beautiful eyes" (Genesis 29:17).
Rachel is "the beautiful girl who has no eyes" (Zohar 2:95a).

Though Leah Imeinu (our matriarch) had beautiful eyes and Rachel Imeinu has no eyes, they have something in common. They cry.

Leah Imeinu (our matriarch) had beautiful eyes. She saw very well with them. She saw better than most people. Many people, including even Yitzchak Avinu (Tanchuma Yashan, VaYetze), said that Leah Imeinu was Esav's destined. Nu? A boy from a fine family. His brother, an upstanding scholar. Esav himself was rich and a leader of men (Genesis 33:1, 9).

It is possible to be wise - to "see" things - and still be faithless, utterly lacking in belief in God. This is not only true in regard to secular wisdom, but even in regard to Torah wisdom. One may be ordained, one may have a doctorate in rabbinics and still be lacking in faith. Esav also saw, but missed the point (ibid. 28:6, 8; Or HaChaim). True sight, says Rebbe Nachman, is wisdom and faith. "My heart saw much wisdom" (Ecclesiastes 1:16). How does this verse prove Rebbe Nachman's point? The answer is in the "heart." Leah Imeinu is the heart, binah (insight), the hidden world (Likutey Moharan I, 32).

Leah Imeinu used her perceptivity to see how Esav behaved and her faith to peer into his soul. She understood what the future would hold if she accepted his way of life. So she cried that she not be wedded to his fate (Rashi, Genesis 29:17).

Rachel Imeinu saw other things. She was engaged and waited for years to marry her betrothed, Yaakov Avinu (our patriarch). On the last day he was taken away from her and her sister married him. What future would she have? After being married for years she was childless. Without children her future would die with her. Without children there was a real fear that her future was with Esav (ibid. v.23). Is it possible to imagine her pain"to twice be on the verge of building the Jewish people, twice to be denied and to be cast away?

Rachel Imeinu had blind faith. She "had no eyes" for the pain because the pain was so intense. She did not deny it, but closed her eyes to it in order to stay focused on her goal (Likutey MoHaran I, 65:3). Even when her sister, her rival co-wife, was succeeding and she was failing, she besieged Hashem (God) with requests to become a mother. She sacrificed to become a mother even when the sacrifice seemed counter to her best interests (ibid. 30:3; Or HaChaim).

Rachel Imeinu could not be comforted when she was childless, when her children were not. Nowadays, when the eyes of her children, the Jewish people, are clouded over by Esav's descendants (Zohar 3:252a). Our knowledge and our faith is weak in this long, long exile. Rachel Imeinu sees that her children "are not" - are not as we should be, are not where we belong. Even though the end of the exile is invisible (Tanchuma, VaYetze 2), Rachel Imeinu refuses to be swayed either by its seeming endlessness or its pain. "Rachel cries for her children" (Jeremiah 31:14).

Our "children," our future deeds (Rashi, Genesis 6:9), are yet unborn. Let us cry beforehand so that we may "marry" well and have good children.

agutn Shabbos!
Shabbat Shalom!