Leah

June 14, 2006

One of the “Founding Mothers” of the Jewish People; older sister of Rachel, daughter of Lavan, wife of Yaakov, described in Megillat Ruth as “…May Ruth be like Leah and Rachel, the two of whom together built the House of Israel…” (Ruth 4:11) Leah became the wife of Yaakov by a bit of a “trick,” perpetrated by Lavan, based on the principle of “It’s not done that way here, to have the younger one, namely Rachel, whom Yaakov had contracted to work for, for seven years, marry before the older one.” (Bereshit 29:23) This was perhaps to keep Yaakov “in line,” since he had on occasion been not entirely truthful, due to the difficult circumstances he faced, although it is he who is called in Jewish Tradition, the “Master of Truth.” Some of the names that Leah gave her children reflect her unhappiness at being the less-loved wife, for example Shimon, because “Hashem has heard that I am the hated one” (Bereshit 29:33) and Levi, concerning whom she said “Maybe this time my husband will consent to be with me, for I have borne him now three sons.” (Bereshit 29:34)