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A Shabbat Nugget: Parashat Vayetzei

In this week’s Torah portion we learn about Jacob getting married to Leah and Rachel and to their maidservants Bilha and Zilpa.  The Torah continues to tell us about the birth of the twelve tribes and of a daughter named Dina.

When Leah gives birth to her fourth son, she calls him, Judah, which means thanksgiving and she proclaims: “This time I will thank Hashem.”

The Rabbis examine the words “This time” and explain that Leah was particularly giving thanks for the birth of her fourth child.  Since she knew prophetically that Jacob would give birth to twelve tribes through four wives.  Now that she had four children, she had more than her fair share which would have been three tribes for each wife.

The Midrash teaches us that Leah was the first person who thanked G-d properly.  What was so unique about Leah’s thanksgiving?

Rabbi Dovid Kviat explains it as follows:

Human Nature is to always want more than one already has. Whatever we might have we still feel like we are lacking and have less than we deserve.  The unique individual rises above this tendency and is satisfied with his portion in life.  However, Leah, went even beyond this level.  Not only was she satisfied with her portion, but she felt that she was getting more than she deserved.  Therefore, she is singled out for her exceptional level of thankfulness.

About Rabbi Pesach Scheiner

Rabbi Pesach Scheiner is the Rabbi of Boulder County Center for Judaism. In addition, he teaches extensively throughout Boulder County and is the author of "Finding the Joy in Everyday Living," a book of short chapters explaining the ways to access happiness through appreciation, gratitude, and a sense of purpose.

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