Friday, December 2
- 06:50 am – Shacharit
- 03:50 pm – Mincha
- 03:54 pm – Candle lighting
- 08:00 pm – Men’s Class on Derech Hashem at the home of Daniel and Bonnie Bitran, 58 Grace Street.
Saturday, December 3
- 07:45 am – Shacharit at Salem Towers
- 08:45 am – Shacharit
- 09:14 am – Latest time for Kriat Shema
- 10:30 am – Jr. Congregation
- 11:15 am – Kiddush
- 03:30 pm – Mincha
- 04:00 pm – Se’udah Shlishit
- 04:50 pm – Ma’ariv
- 05:02 pm – Shabbat Ends
December 4 – 9
- 08:00 am – Sunday
- 06:40 am – Monday and Thursday
- 06:50 am – Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday
- 03:55 pm – Sunday – Thursday
- 03:50 pm – Friday
- 04:25 pm – Sunday – Thursday
To print this schedule, click here to go directly to the post, and then press ctrl-P (Windows) or cmd-P (Mac) to print it.
Weekly Words of Torah
Prayer For, and Nachat from, Children
Insights into Parshat Vayetze of Mr. Kevin Perlitsh of Yeshivat Sha’alvim, by Rav Re’uven Ungar of Sha’alvim.
In this week’s parsha, Yaakov marries Rachel and Leah, and 11 of the 12 Shevatim are born. What’s strange is that when each of the sons is born, Rachel and Leah are the ones who name the kids (aside from Levi, which Rashi explains is because Hashem named him). It’s never Yaakov. This is unusual considering by Avraham and Sarah, Avraham names Yitzchak, and by Yitzchak and Rivka, Yitzchak named Yaakov. It seems that the general practice was to have the father name the children, not the mother. What’s different here that the mothers are the ones naming here, compared to the other Avot and Imahot?
I think we can answer this question with the explanation of the Ramban, and Rav Shamshon Refael Hirsch on an earlier pasuk. In Perek Lamed Pasuk Alef (Ch 30 V 1), Rachel sees that she hasn’t had any kids, while Leah has, so she says to Yaakov “Give me children; if not I am dead” and in Pasuk Bet, Yaakov gets angry and says “Am I instead of Hashem Who has withheld from you fruit of the womb?” The Ramban and Rav Shamshon Refael Hirsch explain that Rachel was asking Yaakov to daven for her to have kids. So why is Yaakov angry with her? Yaakov is responding “I am davening, but it’s not up to me if Hashem answers it or not! I’m doing the best I can here.” He’s angry because she fails to realize that it’s up to Hashem to answer the prayer.
This explanation can lead to an answer to the main question. Yaakov’s tefilah isn’t the one that was answered, Rachel’s was. We see in Pasuk Daled, when Rachel names Dan, she says “Danani Elokim, V’Gam Shama B’Koli…” ” Hashem judged me, and he also heard my voice…”. Also by Leah, in Perek Chuf Tet Pasuk Lamed Gimel (Ch 29 V 33), when she names Shimon, she says “Ki Shama Hashem Ki Senuah Anochi…” “Because Hashem heard that I was unloved…”. We see from both of these pesukim, that Rachel and Leah are the ones who Hashem heard. The wives are the ones who prayed and were listened to, not Yaakov. And that’s the difference between Rachel and Leah and the other Imahot. By Rivka, she and Yitzchak davened together, but only Yitzchak was answered. As Rashi comments over there, Yitzchak was answered, because a Tzadik ben Tzadik’s prayers are answered before a Tzadik Ben Rasha (or Tzadeket Bat Rasha). By Sarah and Avraham, we never see explicitly that Sarah prayed and her tefilot were answered over Avraham’s. Also, Hashem named Yitzchak, because he promised Avraham that he would have a son named Yitzchak, so it’s not so relevant that Avraham is the one that named Yitzchak when he was born. However, by Rachel and Leah, they were the one’s who were answered, and because they were more spiritually involved in the birth, they had the zchut to name the kids.
Another way I believe we can answer the main question, is that in this situation there were multiple wives. Not only that, but they were sisters. This led to a feud between Rachel and Leah. Leah sees that Yaakov loves Rachel more than her, and when she gives birth to her first kids she says “Now my husband will love me”, and “Now my husband will be attached to me.” So now Leah has more kids and Rachel is jealous. So she gets mad, and then she has kids through Bilhah. And then Leah goes and has kids through Zilpah. There’s a back and forth going on in the fight between Rachel and Leah. And when is it that they felt like they had the upper edge over the other? When they had sons. The Or HaChaim explains, that when Leah had Reuven, it uprooted the Sinah (“hatred”) Yaakov felt against her. And when she had Shimon, that put in Ahavah. And when she had Levi it made a Chazakah that Yaakov loved her now, so when she had Yehudah, then she says, “Now I can thank Hashem.” We see from the Or HaChaim this same idea, that the sons, in a way, were a “prize” to put her on top. Rachel and Leah each had a stronger connection to their kids, and that’s why they were the one’s who named them.
We should all be zocheh to build a nice peaceful household, hopefully without the fights of Rachel and Leah, but with the same Kabalat HaTefilah as Rachel and Leah.