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A Timely Torah Message By Shaya Gross

Remaining Silent

The Gemara in Megilla states that as a reward for Rochel’s tznius (modesty) when she gave Yaakov’s codes to her sister Leah, she merited having a descendant, Shaul Ha’melech, who had the Midah of tznius as well. Where did Rochel demonstrate Tznius in this episode?

Yaakov had given Rochel a code to make sure that Lavan wasn’t deceiving him by giving Leah instead. That code, the commentators tell us, was the Mishna in Shabbos: that a woman can die during childbirth for sinning in either family purity, not separating challa, or not lighting Shabbos candles.

Rochel gave over this code to Leah, but she did so it in such an obscure manner that Leah didn’t even realize that she received a code. Leah just assumed that it was a law that she needed to know for marriage. Subsequently, when Yaakov posed the challenge to determine her identity, she replied correctly, and hence Yaakov thought it was Rochel….

Later in the Parsha, Reuvain comes from the field with some special fertile ‘dudaim.’ Rochel innocently asks Leah for some of the dudaim, as a proactive way to merit having a child. Leah replies, ‘not only did you take MY husband, you want to take the Dudaim of my son as well?!’

This Pasuk is astonishing. What was Leah thinking? This was ROCHEL’S husband that Rochel selflessly gave up to her?! How dare Leah respond this way?!

However, using the above explanation, everything is now clear. Rochel had shared Yaakov’s code in such a discrete manner that Leah didn’t even realize that she had taken ROCHEL’S husband. This is what the Gemara means when it says it was in the merit of the TZNIUS that Rochel had that she merited having a descendant Shaul Hamelech.

There is a very powerful lesson that can be gleaned from here. Rochel was suffering and was in immense pain, due to her being barren. She asked a simple innocent question to Leah and was lambasted for it, when in truth, Rochel’s request was completely justified. She could have easily responded to Leah with a sharp retort and exposed the secret, yet she kept quiet. This superhuman Gevura of remaining silent when she was totally in the right, merited her the privilege of being the one and only person whom the Medrash tells us was able to ‘appease Hashem’ at a time when Hashem wanted to totally abandon Klal Yisroel. This is the tremendous merit we invoke while davening at Kever Rochel.

But instead of just going to daven at Kever Rochel, wouldn’t it be rational to assume that if we want to truly invoke Hashem’s mercy, that we emulate and follow in the WAYS of Rochel as well?
Let us try to think about our matriarch Rochel and muster up the Gevurah to remain silent, even when we can respond justly. The reward for this will be immense, as the Gemara in Rosh Hashana states: ‘whoever overlooks the wrongdoings that others do to him/her, Hashem will overlook his/her’s wrongdoings.”

May we all try to emulate this strength of character and thus follow in the ways of our holy Matriarch.
{Most of this is based on a Shiur given by my Rebbi, Rav Kalman Weinreb.}

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