The Torah records the passing of all the patriarchs and matriarchs:

Sarah - Bereishis 23:1-2

Avraham - Bereishis 25:8-9

Rochel - Bereishis 35:19

Yitzchak - Bereishis 35:29

Then Rivkah is not mentioned explicitly, but Rashi explains that this is not recorded in order so that people would not curse her as the mother of Esav. But nonetheless it is still alluded to in Bereishit 35:8.

The only mention I have found is in Bereshis 49:31, where Jacob mentions that he buried Leah in Ma'aras Ha'Machpela.

So why does the Torah not mention her passing like it does the rest of the Avos and Emahos?


3 Answers 3


Sefer Chuzkuni Parshas Chaya Sara 23:2 says that it is not the way of the Torah to mention the death of a woman unless there is a specific reason such as by Sarah, Rachel, Devora, and Miriam.

Sarah is mentioned due to the significant amount of money Avraham spent to bury her - and this was one of the 10 trials of Avraham.

Rachel to let us know that she was not buried in the Mearas HaMachpela.

Devora to let us know why that location was known as Ailon Bachis.

Miriam to let us know that the well stopped when she passed away.

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    Is it the way of the Torah to mention the death of a man even without a specific reason?
    – Double AA
    Dec 31, 2012 at 17:27
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    @DoubleAA, I don't even want to touch that one.
    – Seth J
    Dec 31, 2012 at 19:38

All the matriarch's deaths are listed - but whether Leah would be counted as a matriarch was not always clear, particularly during her own life. Remember, Jacob had chosen Rachel for his wife, loved her the most, and married Leah only by mistake. No doubt there was a fair amount of tension between the brothers over this. The Leah children were more numerous and older, but the Rachel children (Yosef, Binyamin) were the only sons of the "true" wife. We don't expect to hear about Hagar's death - she wasn't a "true" wife" - so too we shouldn't be fully surprised about Leah.

It is Yaakov's great insight to not choose one child or set of children to continue his line, but to accept both the Rachel branch and the Leah branch, and make all of them Bnei Yisrael. But that was an innovation - not an obvious decision.

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    Hi Ben, welcome to Mi Yodeya! This is an interesting read of the verses. Do you have a source for this understanding or is it your own?
    – Double AA
    Dec 31, 2012 at 17:26
  • Hi and welcome. Hagar seems analogous to Yaakov's two concubines (unmarried mothers) more than to Leah. He did marry her so her status is higher than them. Dec 31, 2012 at 17:57
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    Oh sure, Yaakov clearly preferred Rachel. But that doesn't mean that HKBH did, and it's his torah that doesn't tell us of her death. Dec 31, 2012 at 18:07
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    This answer really needs more to justify it. While Leah's status may have been doubt very early on, the sources are clear that her son's were included as the founder's of the tribes from fairly early on - certainly well before she died. Moreover, I'm not sure it is accurate to say that it was Jacob (rather than God) who decided that all of his sons would be the founders of the tribes.
    – LazerA
    Dec 31, 2012 at 18:13
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    @DoubleAA and Ben, I have to strongly disagree. Ya'akov clearly was unhappy with being tricked, but he did not seek an annulment or divorce from Leah, and he seemed ready and willing to honor the marriage throughout his lifetime. It does not mean he loved her as much as he loved Rachel, but he was devoted to her, and we treat her as a Matriarch. We don't bless our daughters Friday nights to be like Bilhah and Zilpah, but we do bless them to be like Leah, among the other Matriarchs.
    – Seth J
    Dec 31, 2012 at 18:45

Because Yakov was upset at her & therefore didn't mention her. He was upset she tricked him. So she spoke up and said "you tricked your Father Yitzchok into giving you the B'chor". Because of that he was upset at her and didn't speak of her.

Sader Hadoros says Yakov never forgave her and therefore didn't care to talk about her.

  • 1
    So the decision to include her death in the Torah was Yaakov's? I wouldn't have expected that
    – Double AA
    Apr 6, 2020 at 10:59
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    First of all, Hashem wrote the Torah, not Yaakov. Second of all, where do we find that Yaakov resented Leah even all those years later? Seems they all reconciled around Yissachar's birth; no mention of Leah being the "hated wife" from that point forward.
    – DonielF
    Apr 6, 2020 at 12:43
  • @DoubleAA why not?
    – Moshe
    Apr 7, 2020 at 7:25
  • @DonielF Didn't moshe rabenu wright the torah (According to Rashi (Exodus 24:4)?
    – Moshe
    Apr 7, 2020 at 7:27
  • see my edit @DonielF
    – Moshe
    Apr 7, 2020 at 7:27

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