We probably all have favourites of one kind or another: a favourite aunt or uncle, a cousin, perhaps a brother or sister whom we somehow gel with better than our other siblings, assuming we have any. We have classmates we prefer over others, a friend who is somehow more special – even, when we are young, favourite soft toys (mine were – still are – a decrepit rabbit and an ancient bear). As for husbands and wives, nowadays there is no polygamy in our faith, at least not sanctioned by the rabbis or the state! Where it has existed, there will surely have been cases of one spouse being the favourite. Is it then altogether surprising that Jacob loved one wife more than the other? In some translations it says that Rachel was more loved than Leah and this is followed by, “The Lord saw that Leah was hated,” but other translations say instead ‘not loved’ (Bereshit XXIX, 31), which is not the same thing. Besides, Jacob had not asked to marry Leah. Perhaps we should not be too hard on him here, although he is certainly at fault later, when he favours Joseph over his other sons, just as Rebecca was in favouring him to the extent of deceiving poor Isaac.
Vayetze brims with narrative, themes, and richness. Come along to explore some of these and to listen to and support another brave heart who will be leading the service for the first time this Saturday, namely John Adelson. The service begins, as usual, at 10:30.