Tradition says that couples may not touch before marriage. One who follows that is called shomer negiah.

Yet when Jacob met Rachel he kissed her:

וַיִּשַּׁ֥ק יַעֲקֹ֖ב לְרָחֵ֑ל וַיִּשָּׂ֥א אֶת־קֹל֖וֹ וַיֵּֽבְךְּ׃ -- Then Jacob kissed Rachel, and broke into tears. [Genesis 29:11]

Sure, the Torah had not been given, but tradition says that the patriarchs followed the Torah before it was given. (As for marrying two sisters, later forbidden, Leah and Rachel were converts, which severed their biological links).



1 Answer 1


The Midrashim explain that Jacob's kiss to Rachel was a kiss to a relative, which is not considered sensual. [Bereishis Rabbah 70:12, Shemos Rabbah 5:10].

Ibn Ezra explains that לְרָחֵ֑ל, (with the letter Lamed) refers to a kiss on the head or on the shoulder, which was the custom of those countries, and doesn't refer to a kiss on the mouth.

  • This is true that they were cousins so it's fine, but aside from that, we have plenty of direct evidence from the Torah that the Patriarchs didn't actually have all the laws as they were given at Sinai. Oct 3, 2023 at 21:59
  • @user1879026 I can't debate phantom unnamed sources. But the point is moot, since my answer is based on other sources that seek to rationalize Yaakov Avinu's behavior, in a different manner. If you like, you could flesh out your own theory, and post it as a separate answer. Oct 3, 2023 at 23:23

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