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Monday, Kislev 4, 5780 / November 2, 2019


At the end of last week's Parsha, Toldot, we read that after Yaakov received his father’s blessings, his brother, Esau, wanted to kill him.  Yaakov is encouraged by his father and mother, Yitzchak and Rivkah, to run away from Esau and go to his uncle, Lavan, who lived in Charan. They suggest that while there he should marry one of Lavan’s daughters.


This week's Parsha, Vayeitzei, begins, "And Yaakov went out from Be'er Sheva and he went to Charan." Upon arriving in Charan, Yaakov stopped at a well and there he met his cousin, Rachel, who would later become his wife.


Q.  We know from the previous Parsha that Yaakov lived in Be’er Sheva. The Torah should have told us only that, “Yaakov went to Charan.”  We would already know that he left from Be'er Sheva?


A.  Our sages reply: Yaakov left his parents for two reasons: 1) To run away from his brother, Esau who wanted to kill him. 2) Yitzchak urged Yaakov to go find a wife from the daughters of Lavan.


Here, the Torah alludes to the two reasons: 1) "And Yaakov went out from Be'er Sheva" – was to flee from Esau; 2) "And he went to Charan" – was in order to find a wife from Lavan's daughters.


Q. How old was Yaakov when he received his blessings from his father and left Be’er Sheva? How old was he when he arrived in Charan? How old was he when he got married?


A. Yaakov was 63 years old when he got his blessings and left Be’er Sheva. On the way he stopped at the Yeshiva of Ever, where he spent 14 years studying. He came to his uncle, Lavan, when he was 77. He worked seven years for Lavan, in order to marry his daughter, Rachel. In the end, Lavan fooled him and gave him Leah instead.


A week after marrying Leah he also married her sister, Rachel, and worked for his father-in-law another seven years. Thus, Yaakov was 84 when he married Leah and Rachel.


Q.  What was the significance of waiting a week after marrying Leah before marrying also Rachel?


A.  The seven days after a marriage ceremony are called "Shiva’at Yemei Hamishte" - "seven days of feast and rejoicing." These are seven joyous days for the bride and groom.  Seven blessings are recited each of the seven days over a cup of wine at the conclusion of the Grace-after-meal. Thus, the reason Yaakov waited seven days was to complete the seven days of celebration for marrying Leah, before he could marry Rachel.


Isaac, Jacob and Moshe found their soul-mates near water. Water is a sign of blessing. The Baal Shem Tov when seeing a water-carrier carrying water, would say, “Water is a sign of blessing.”