-2

וַיִּחַר־אַף יַעֲקֹב בְּרָחֵל וַיֹּאמֶר הֲתַחַת אֱלֹהִים אָנֹכִי אֲשֶׁר־מָנַע מִמֵּךְ פְּרִי־בָטֶן׃
Jacob was incensed at Rachel, and said, “Can I take the place of God, who has denied you fruit of the womb?” (Gen 30.2)

Yaakov was extremely eager to have children with Rachel on his wedding night, but, seemingly, this desire vanished altogether once he started fathering his sons from another woman. And not only that, once Rachel asks him openly and desperately to put more [spiritual] effort in having her own children, probably implying that by being a Tzadik Ben Tzadik (unlike her) he can surely force G-d to hear his prayers, Yaakov gets angry and waves her off saying something like "it's your problem".

Is this a contemporary Halachic behavior we should all learn from?


Sorry for this tone, I just completed a couple therapy course, try to square it with our sources.

  • It seems pretty evident from Jacob's words that Rachel was barren (מנע ממך פרי בטן...) and that he was simply stating it isn't in his power to grant her fertility (התחת אלהים אנכי)ְ; that she was jealous (תקנא) of her fertile sister, and that the words of Rachel (הבה לי בנים ואם אין מתה אנכי) were the reason Jacob was angry. – SolaGratia Dec 16 '19 at 23:56
9

Actually, Chazal tell us that this was not an entirely correct response (Bereshis Rabah 78:7):

וַיִּחַר אַף יַעֲקֹב בְּרָחֵל וַיֹּאמֶר וגו', אָמַר לוֹ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא כָּךְ עוֹנִים אֶת הַמְּעִיקוֹת, חַיֶּיךָ שֶׁבָּנֶיךָ עֲתִידִים לַעֲמֹד לִפְנֵי בְּנָה.

"And Yaakov was incensed at Rachel, and said..." The Holy One, blessed be He, said to him, this is how you respond to the distressed? By your life, your sons will stand before her son.

(Quoted in Mesilas Yesharim chapter 4)

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