This week things have been hectic with work, proposals and grants and everyday things, so my maps (that someone I am calling more and more often Visualisations) are a bit behind, but I am working on it!
So, Vayetsei is here and we reach the second half of the Family Saga: Jacob’s Journey and Advetures.
We start with Jacob being on the run – or on his quest to find a wide, depending on how we interpret the reason for his departure from last week’s Parsha, and he has a dream. An important dream.
There is a ladder and the angels of G-d going up and down. He has a conversation with G-d and there is a reference to the Covenant and Jacobs role in his grand plan.
Jacob wakes up, makes a pillar (this is becoming a common theme by now) and renames the place as “The House of G-d” or Beth-El.
Our teenage heartthrob is again on his way and runs into a Water Well. And we all know what that means, there is going to be love in the air (or the well).
And Along comes Rachel. The beautiful. He falls in love. She tells her dad, the dad seems to be ok.
The dad seems to be a really nice guy. Really honest. But… oh wait, we are talking about Laban! Our dear Laban!
Laban welcomes Jacob into the family, but offer him to pay him “his wages”. Keeping money and family matters aside. But this will not last for long.
Anyhow… Jacob wants to marry Rachel, but there is the older daughter Leah (with beautiful or lazy eyes… depends how you read it) that somehow ends up marrying him first. But I am getting ahead of myself here.
Laban and Jacob made a pact (because why asking the women involved, right?) in which our dear Yossi will work 7 years for the love of Rachel. And when the time was up, he demanded the wedding.
And he got it. There was a feast and a tent, and he went into the tent and then he took the woman as his wife, only to realise that it was not Rachel but rather Leah whom he married!
This part bothers me so much! So he not even cared to see her face, to talk to her? Were they that similar in height, weight, complexity, that Jay could not tell them apart?
Laban’s reason was that “well, over here the younger never marries before the older”. Interesting tradition, but if that is what the tradition dictates… A bit Shakespearian to say the least!
So, he works again 7 years for Rachel and then he marries her.
And then they got busy. Kids everywhere. And the maidservants get a share of the story by having kids on behalf of their mistresses.
A total of twelve children: eleven sons and one daughter. A lot of “And then she Bore and Conceived” in this section.
But good Ray only had one son (so far): Joseph. He is not that important in this week’s narrative. It is not his time to shine (in many colours, some might say.
It is after the birth of the last one that Jacob decides it is time to go, to the land of his father.
But before he tricks Laban and gets the best of the flocks (and the flocks are also very important this week), and becomes very wealthy.
And then one day, just as his grandfather and his mother did before him… he got the Lech Lecha out of there.
Rachel steals her father’s icons, there is a mention of menstruation (this gotta be a take against the idols, with all the bad rap that menstruation gets later on the books…) but al is well and they manage to get out of there with no problem
So, that is the short version of the story, let’s get to the maps.