I’m pleased to share Casey Davis’ dvar Torah on Parashat Vayetzei
by Casey Davis
This is a rose [Hold up rose]. This is a lilac [Hold up lilac]. They are both beautiful in their own distinct ways. They both only have a short while to live. Yet, they spend that time withering away out of coveting each other’s gifts. Neither accepts and honors that she is beautiful, and that she should accept that. Jealousy became so intense that they got swept up in it and forgot themselves.
This is like Rachel and Leah. Both have their own gifts; Rachel has Jacob’s true love and Leah is able to have children. Leah wishes that she had Jacob’s true love and, consequently has many children. She does not necessarily have children out of love and want, but out of jealousy. Rachel was jealous of Leah because Leah was able to have children, and Rachel wasn’t. According to Rashi, Rachel thinks that Leah may be a better person, and that is why Leah is able to have children, and she isn’t. That G-d thinks that Leah is more deserving, and to punish Rachel, does not allow Rachel to have any children. Rachel does not realize that this is just who she is. Both of them are knocked down by waves of jealousy. Neither rise above, accepting and being grateful for who they are. Both allow coveting and jealousy to sweep them out to sea.
In the ten commandments it is stated; Lo tachmod. Thy shall not covet. Rachel and Leah do not obey this. There is a difference between wanting something, and coveting what someone else has. If you want something, it is possible to work towards getting it, or, just realizing that it is not needed. Rachel and Leah are two of the Matriarchs of Judaism. This means that they are very important to Jewish history. Yet, they are not perfect. We must learn from that. We must learn to control our envy, and move on with life. If you covet something, you may lose friends, gain enemies, and lose sight of what you were meant to do.
This past year, I had to learn to appreciate and use my gifts. Before 7th grade, I was able to get all A’s and a B or two without really doing any work. But in 7th grade I was in more advanced classes, and I had to actually work to get A’s, or even B’s. I was completely able to get straight A’s, but I didn’t. I scraped by. It was not very fun, and life in general was not as enjoyable. I was less happy, and my grades went down. After talking to my parents, it began to dawn on me that my Bat Mitzvah was coming up!
My Bat Mitzvah is when I become responsible for my choices. I need to take charge of my life, and turn my grades around. And, in the end, I got back on the honor roll! But becoming a Bat Mitzvah also makes me responsible for turning my feelings into actions. For my B’nei Mitzvah project, I am volunteering at the Humane Society. When I first saw my dog, Ricky, I knew. I knew that he was special. But there are many special dogs out there, many of whom need a good home. When I work at the Humane Society, and walk dogs, it makes the dogs more calm and adoptable.
Don’t let jealousy turn you into a twisted version of yourself. If you are jealous of someone’s iPod either save up money to buy one for yourself, or realize that you would rather spend the money on something more important. Be who you are. If you act like Rachel and Leah, you will wither away instead of being the beautiful flower that you were meant to be.
Yasher koach, Casey! Boulder Jewish News encourages Bar and Bat Mitzvah students to submit their d’var torah for publication, so that the community may learn from our young adults. Information about Mitzvah/Tikkun Olam projects is also welcome. For more information, please email email@example.com.