Goooooooood evening everyone and welcome to this week’s Better Know a Parsha!
This week we’ll be visiting Vayeitzei and we’ll meet the fightin’ Sister Wives! Literally!
For those who don’t remember, we pick up this week as Jacob has fled from his brother Esau who wants to kill him for stealing his blessing from Isaac.
On his way to Padan Aram, where his Uncle Laban lives, Jacob stops to have a bit of a snooze.
While he’s sleeping, Jacob has one heck of a dream. He sees a ladder reaching all the way up to heaven with angels climbing and descending between him and the land upstairs.
Then God appears and repeats a bunch of the promises he made to Abraham and Isaac.
He told Jacob he would inherit the land he was sleeping on, that his offspring would be numerous and that he will not forsake him.
Jacob wakes up and is like
He blesses the spot and pours oil on a rock so he can make sure he remembers where it is when he comes back through.
Side note: the oil on the rock thing really works. We did it in 5th grade when we learned about this Parsha, shoutout to Morah Leeora and the HDS crew!!
Jacob arrives and sees Laban’s daughter Rachel and… well…
So he promises Laban he’ll work for him for seven years to earn his daughter’s hand. Laban agrees and Jacob goes to work.
After the seven years go by Jacob is all “let’s get this thing on,” so Laban arranges a big wedding fest.
However, he switches his daughters, and gives Jacob the older—but less desirable—Leah instead!
This is why we now have a ceremony as part of the Jewish wedding ceremony where the groom lifts the veil to make sure his bride is the right one before the ceremony starts.
So Jacob offers to work for seven more years to marry Rachel as well. Laban agrees and Jacob marries the younger sister a week later instead of waiting seven years.
Leah gave birth to four children but Rachel was baby-less.
To make matters worse, both women also gave their hand maidens to Jacob as concubines and they each popped out two kids but Rachel still had nothin’ goin’ on down there.
One day, Leah’s oldest son Reuben (like the sandwich) was picking flowers in the field. Rachel liked them and asked if she could have them. Leah told her she would exchange the flowers for “sleeping with Jacob” privileges.
Rachel agrees, and Leah promptly has two more sons and a daughter (we’ll hear more about her down the line).
And then finally Rachel has a son! You might have heard of him!
At this point Jacob wants to leave but Laban tells him to name any wages he wants and he’ll pay it.
Jacob asks that he be allowed to keep all the striped sheep he raises. Laban agrees.
Here’s where things get a little weird. Jacob strips the bark off some sticks so they’re striped and puts them in front of the sheep while their mating. All of the sheep and goats that are born are then striped.
So Jacob becomes real rich and dips out while Laban is off on a trip. For some reason, Rachel also takes one of Laban’s idols with her.
Laban gets mad and chases after them. God comes to him in a dream and warns him not to hurt Jacob or his family.
So when they finally meet up Laban’s all “I’m just so mad I didn’t get to wish you goodbye!”
Jacob and Laban make nice and build a big stone monument to commemorate how great they both are.
Jacob and his family head back to Canaan where we’ll catch up with them next week on As the Torah Turns.