IIRC, the general approach to Yaakov marrying Rachel and Leah is that he intended to marry them both from the beginning, just in a different order.

Even if only Rachel was his soulmate, marrying another woman implies IMHO certain emotional obligations toward her mere beyond procreation and sustaining. In reality, not only that Yaakov never learns to love her, but their relations got so bad, even the Almighty testifies that Leah is simply hated and needs to be compensated.

Even if she initially conspired with her sister against Yaakov's plans, she always had benign intentions and eventually bore the majority of the tribes.

Why didn't Yaakov learn to love her?

  • 3
    The verse explicitly says he loved her וַיֶּאֱהַ֥ב גַּֽם־אֶת־רָחֵ֖ל מִלֵּאָ֑ה (Genesis 29:30)
    – robev
    Nov 28, 2020 at 18:22
  • @robev I would believe it if not the following verse: וַיַּרְא ה' כִּי־שְׂנוּאָה לֵאָה וַיִּפְתַּח אֶת־רַחְמָהּ וְרָחֵל עֲקָרָה׃
    – Al Berko
    Nov 28, 2020 at 20:00
  • 1
    The Midrash says Avraham loved Yishmael (אשר אהבת, אני אוהב שניהם), yet Chazal say he hated Yishmael for going bad. Both can be true (see Sichos Mussar). In any event the שנואה of Leah is interpreted differently by most than how you're reading it. At the very least you have a contradiction in your eyes and you don't have the right to assume one over the other without a reason.
    – robev
    Nov 29, 2020 at 5:09
  • 1
    Even if your interpretation of the verse would be correct that early in their relationship he hated her, why would you assume that from then on he 'never learned' to love her? I don't see the evidence for this.
    – Jay
    Nov 29, 2020 at 19:56
  • We don't find chazal critisize Yakov here... you're asking naturally he should love her after so much time being with her?
    – Shlomy
    Nov 29, 2020 at 20:19

2 Answers 2


An explicit pasuk states that Yaakov loved Leah. Bereishit 29:30:

וַיָּבֹא גַּם אֶל-רָחֵל, וַיֶּאֱהַב גַּם-אֶת-רָחֵל מִלֵּאָה; וַיַּעֲבֹד עִמּוֹ, עוֹד שֶׁבַע-שָׁנִים אֲחֵרוֹת.

And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years.

If he loved X more than he loved Y, he still loved Y. Jay's answer citing Rabbenu Bachya about כי שנואה לאה is valuable in that it addresses the portion of your question where you assume (based on that pasuk that she was hated), and it shows how to understand that other pasuk, that it does not mean absolute hatred. But, where Rabbenu Bachya said שנואה בערך רחל שהיתה אהובה ביותר, we can see where he is getting it from - an explicit pasuk that it was just relative degrees of love.


Rabbeinu Bahya (among others) explains the verse as meaning 'hated' relative to his love for Rachel, but not in the objective sense of the word:

כי שנואה לאה. ח"ו שישנא יעקב את לאה אבל יאמר עליה שנואה בערך רחל שהיתה אהובה ביותר.

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