On the Posuk (Gen 29,21) "וַיֹּאמֶר יַעֲקֹב אֶל־לָבָן הָבָה אֶת־אִשְׁתִּי כִּי מָלְאוּ יָמָי וְאָבוֹאָה אֵלֶיהָ׃" Bereyshis Rabba 70,18 explains that Yaakov was 84 and knew that he's destined to have the 12 tribes, so he was worried when could he do it:

"...אָמַר רַבִּי אַיְּבוּ אֲפִלּוּ אָדָם פָּרוּץ אֵין אוֹמֵר כַּלָּשׁוֹן הַזֶּה, ... אֶלָּא כָּךְ אָמַר לוֹ, אָמַר לִי הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא שֶׁאֲנִי מַעֲמִיד שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר שְׁבָטִים, עַכְשָׁו הֲרֵי אֲנִי כְּבֶן שְׁמוֹנִים וְאַרְבַּע שָׁנִים, וְאִם אֵין אֲנִי מַעֲמִידָן עַכְשָׁו אֵימָתַי אֲנִי מַעֲמִידָן, לְפִיכָךְ הֻצְרַךְ הַכָּתוּב לוֹמַר: וַיֹּאמֶר יַעֲקֹב אֶל לָבָן הָבָה אֶת אִשְׁתִּי."

If I remember correctly Yaakov:

  1. Did nothing until the age of 60 (when his twin brother got married at 40).

  2. At 60 after the story with Berochos and fearing Esau's revenge he flees to Ever's Yeshivah and stays there for 14 years (Rachel is 7yo).

  3. He arrives in Charan at 77, meets Rachel (14yo) and loves her but offers Lavan to work for 7 full years.

  4. At 84 he demands to have his rightful wife right away to procreate from her.

  5. On the other hand, his father lived to 180, Avraham to 175, Yaakov himself lived to 147 so he had some 60 years!

So what was so urgent or so special in that date for Yaakov that urged him to justify such a rude (as for B"R) demand?

  • 1
    According to Ralbag, Yaakov married Rachel before working the seven years, precisely because he needed to have kids already and was worried that if he waited he might not be able to have kids later.
    – Alex
    Nov 17, 2018 at 23:24
  • You don't need B"R to understand that Yaakov demand wording is outrageous! Aug 22, 2019 at 13:54
  • @alaychem, but we wouldn't be so unrefined as to say so ourselves.
    – Mordechai
    Aug 29, 2019 at 21:40
  • @Mordechai I Disagree. Aug 31, 2019 at 19:09

1 Answer 1


R' Elazar Shapira in sefer Shaar Yashuv suggests that Yaakov thought that he might live only to 120 (the standard human lifespan), and also that he planned to marry only Rachel. In which case, allowing time for 13 births (12 shevatim, plus one girl to fulfill Pru Urvu), with spacing between them for her recovery, would take 36 years - exactly the amount of time (he thought) he had left.

  • Interesting, but sounds like a weak Tirutz. Why suddenly 120? 3-year spacing? Why he waited 7 years for Rachel? why immediately that night and not the next day? Lots of blanks to fill.
    – Al Berko
    Aug 22, 2019 at 18:00
  • 1
    @AlBerko The 3-year spacing assumes 9-month pregnancies and 24-month recovery (איבריה מתפרקין ואין נפשה חוזרת עד כ"ד חודש).
    – Meir
    Aug 22, 2019 at 19:20
  • It doesn't require the last 3 years, so between 12 pregnancies there would be only 33 years! That's why it's just a faint Tirutz.
    – Al Berko
    Aug 22, 2019 at 20:38

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