There was no doubt that in our rich history there where few bachelors as eligible as Yakov. Those attuned to spirituality knew that this great man held the key to building the nation and Rachel could not have happier than to be his partner in moulding Jewish destiny. As Yakov worked for the greedy Lavan for seven years in order to buy the privilege in taking his daughter in marriage, Rachel's excitement grew as quickly as Lavan's devious plans. On the long awaited night as Rachel was enlightened on a plot to trap Yakov in Lavan's business, she was going to have to relinquish her marriage plans and allow her sister Leah to take her place. This evil plot was not unexpected and as a precaution, a sophisticated code system was put into play between the betrothed couple to prevent this from occurring.

However, there was one flaw: Rachel's immense sensitivity. When Rachel realised that the codes where bound to show up her sister to be a charlatan, she selflessly divulged the secrets and the exclusivity of her marriage to Yakov fell to Leah. This phenomenal act of generosity became the trademark of Jewish caring and, ironically, the best thing Rachel could have done to serve her best interests.

As the Torah records the painful period of Rachel's childless years it states, "G-d remembered Rachel; G-d hearkened to her and he opened her womb" (Bereishis 30:22). Rashi comments that Hashem remembered her and replaced her barren status with that of a delighted mother due to her previously virtuous act of kindness to Leah.

This idea is mind-blowing! Yes, Rachel could have stuck to her rights and could have been an indirect cause of embarrassment to her sister and been the sole wife to Yakov, but where would she have been a few years down the line? Barren! Yakov would have had to marry other women in order to fulfil his personal mitzvah of having children and the national obligation of building the Jewish future, and Rachel would have been the all-round loser.

To be alive is to be examined just how far we are ready to put our own interests on hold for the sake of our family and friends. Although at the time it all seems like a sacrifice, if we live this way we not only create a better society but also provide the very best future for ourselves.

Gut Shabbos!

Rabbi Sipper is a close friend of Further divrei Torah from the Rov can be found on his yeshiva's website at

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