Double Switch: Vayetze 2019

by Adam J. Rosenbaum

Pre-Game Chatter: What is the most shocking thing you have woken up to discover? Did you try to reassure yourself that you were dreaming it? How did you gather yourself after realizing you weren’t imagining it?

Our portion tells of when Jacob — no stranger to deceiving others — wakes up after his wedding night and realizes that he had been tricked into not marrying the woman of his dreams, but rather her sister:

The Pitch: “When morning came, there was Leah! So he said to Laban, ‘What is this you have done to me? I was in your service for Rachel! Why did you deceive me?’” – Genesis 29:25

Swing #1: “[Jacob] creates his own universe based on lies. Then his world is turned upside down by lies others tell him. The sages deeply believed that each person is, at least to an appreciable extent, the architect of his own world. … That power vested in being human can transform one’s world either for evil or for good.” – Sheldon Lewis, Torah of Reconciliation

Swing #2: “Perhaps Leah herself harbors the fantasy that Jacob will learn to love and appreciate her. Imagine her feelings when, on the morning after her wedding, her husband’s only response to discovering that she, rather than her sister, is his wife is an excruciating mix of outrage and disappointment.” – Rabbi Shai Held, The Heart of Torah, Volume 1

Swing #3: “It is possible that Jacob referred to the humiliation experienced by Leah who now found herself Jacob’s wife and had to expect that her husband would hate her instead of love her. Jacob’s question ‘Why did you deceive me?’ indicates that he had immediately decided not to divorce Leah but to keep her as a wife.” – Or HaChaim

Late-Inning Questions: Do you feel sorry for Jacob after this incident? Or do you think he got what he deserved given his history of deceiving his brother? Was Jacob’s reaction to Laban justified? Do we have a right to our anger even when we have caused others to be angry at us?

On-Deck at Emanu-El: It won’t be long before our JBQ (annual Kosher barbecue competition) — this year, it will take place Sunday, December 15th. Contact the office to buy your tickets and to offer items for our silent auction!

The Big Inning at the End: The NBA reportedly is considering shortening its regular season in favor of creating in-season tournaments, in an effort to disincentivize teams from tanking and to add a bit of spice to a long season. Should Major League Baseball consider something similar?

Shabbat Shalom!