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According to my interpretation of Rashi's commentary was that Rachel died because of Jacob's curse. But the Torah text says whomever "You find" as in whomever Laban finds the idols that person will die. But the idols were never found on Rachel by him and the Torah explicitly mentions how she even fooled her father into not finding them.

עִם אֲשֶׁר תִּמְצָא אֶת אֱלֹהֶיךָ לֹא יִחְיֶה

http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/8226/jewish/Chapter-31.htm#showrashi=true

The Torah could have mentioned "whomever it is found" and I would have no doubt it was from the curse but the exact wording is תִּמְצָא = you will find.

  • You start off "According to my interpretation of Rashi's commentary was that Rachel died because of Jacob's curse.". Commentary where? Can you quote it? – msh210 Nov 23 '15 at 20:58
  • Related discussion in Makkos around daf 11. – gt6989b Nov 23 '15 at 22:12
  • from the link above with Rashi commentary on...shall not live: And from that curse, Rachel died on the way (Gen. Rabbah 74:4). I'm not certain whether Rashi himself had said this. – code613 Nov 23 '15 at 22:39
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The meforshim use this as an example of how an inadvertant statement by a tzadik can cause later problems. That is, Yaakov had no idea that she had taken it and the condition used was not fulfilled. However, "the word of the tzadik is important". Thus, when Rachel was in danger (giving birth) this statement by Yaakov was included in the judgment and contributed to her death. See the Art Scroll commentary to Vayishlach 35:16 - 20 which expresses this concept explicitly.

The gemora gives other examples of a tzadik making an innocent statement which has a bad effect later on. I asked my Rav and he pointed to Kesuvos 23a (ArtSroll 23a4).

Some captured women came to the Nehardea to be ransomed. The father of Shmuel placed guards on them so that they would not be violated. Shmuel asked, who was guarding them until now (what is the point of guarding them since they were alone with the captors until now)? He answered and would you treat your daughters this lightly?

הואי כשגגה דיצא מלפני השליט

This was like a ruler accidentally giving an order and the daughters were captured and taken to Eretz Yisrael to be ransomed.

  • הקב״ה מדקדק עם צדיקים כחוט השערה – Lee Nov 23 '15 at 20:38
  • @Lee That is where the tzadik is being judged. However, there is another statement that if a tzadik says something, it can cause bad consequences to someone else. That is a different statement. – sabbahillel Nov 23 '15 at 20:40
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    The Sapirstein Edition of RaSh"I on Devarim 33:7 cites Makkot 11B as the paradigmatic conditional banishment. Rabbi Mansour cited Yehudah as another example of HQB"H taking the words of the tzadiqim very seriously. – Lee Nov 23 '15 at 20:58
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    I don't see how this answers the question. Okay, so Hashem would take the curse of Yaakov into account when dealing with Rachel. But that curse didn't apply to Rachel! Hashem might equally well take the curse into account when dealing with Lea! (That, I think, is the question above, and this answer doesn't seem to address it.) – msh210 Nov 23 '15 at 21:00
  • @msh210 Since Rachel was the one who took the teraphim, and she was the sister who "should not" have married Yaakov (since he was already married to Leah) and she was the one in danger (giving birth) the judgment applied to her. – sabbahillel Nov 24 '15 at 0:19

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