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Vayetze: Desperate Housewives of Haran

Parashat Vayetze Rachel and Leah

After Yaakov discovered that he had married the wrong sister, his father-in-law Lavan told him: “It is not the practice in our place to marry off the younger before the older.” (Bereshit 29:26) Yaakov, who had never been short for words, did not respond to Lavan. Parashat Vayetze simply states that “Yaakov did so” and agreed to work for Lavan for another seven years in order to earn Rachel as his wife. Why was Yaakov silent? One possibility, offered by Bible scholar Nahum Sarna, is that perhaps Lavan’s words struck a chord in Yaakov’s past and reminded him of his own childhood struggles of an older versus younger sibling. Why do you think that Yaakov was silent? What else could Yaakov have done in this situation? Why would Yaakov’s struggle with Esav make him more accepting of his current predicament?

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