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Don't Be Holy at the Expense of Others

How Could Yaakov Marry Two Sisters?

1 hr 10 min

Rabbi Chaim Elazar Schapiro (second from right), the Munkatcher Rebbe, taking a stroll with the Rabbi of Lublin, Rabbi Meir Schapiro.

Class Summary:

Forbidden Piety: To go beyond the letter of the law and do more than is obligatory is usually most laudable - and sometimes forbidden.

Our sages tell us that the patriarchs observed the entire Torah although G-d had not yet commanded it. Yet in the 29th chapter of Genesis we find Jacob marrying Rachel after having been tricked into marrying her sister, Leah. Why did Jacob marry two sisters, a clear biblical prohibition?

But Jacob had given his word to Rachel, who had waited seven years as he worked for her father to gain her hand. To refuse to marry her would have caused her grievous hurt and embarrassment. Since the laws of the Torah were not commanded to Israel before the revelation at Mount Sinai, Jacob had no right to uphold his self-assumed piety at the expense of another human being.

Therein lies an important lesson to each and every one of us. The Torah's laws are eternal and unequivocal---one cannot second-guess the Almighty, even if the observance of His commandments may appear to cause hardship and suffering. Ultimately, the Torah is the only source of life and well-being for the Jew, both spiritually and physically. Yet this applies only to what the Torah directly commands. If a person wishes to go beyond what the Torah obligates him, this is most laudable---as long as it affects only himself. Where others are affected, a fellow's needs must always take precedence over one's own loftiest “values.”

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  • Y

    Yitzchok -5 years ago

    No mp3. To download

    No mp3 in android to download

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  • Anonymous -6 years ago

    Another answer

    I appreciated the shiur and the moral point that you brought out. Unfortunately, there are too many people who in the name of 'holiness' trample on other people.

    However, it appears to me that Ya'akov was already stuck befpre he knew what hit him. He was מקדש Rochel with the 7 years of work. However, חופה was first with Leah, and perhaps he had כוונה to be מקדש her with ביאה.

    By the time he got up in the morning and saw that it was Leah, he was already married to both!

    Reply to this comment.Flag this comment.

Women's Vayeitzei Class

Rabbi YY Jacobson

  • November 15, 2015
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  • 3 Kislev 5776
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  • 1940 views

Leilu Nishmas Reb Eliyahu Tzion ben Reb Chananya Niasoff ז״ל
And in the merit of our partner in Torah, Yigal Yisroel ben Sofiaשיחי׳

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