San Francisco, Nisan 5734.

Copyright (C) 1974 by Holy Beggars’ Gazette
Reprinted by permission.

Transcribed by (Rabbi) Elana Rappaport (Schachter),
Reb Shlomo speaking.

Rachel is one of our four mothers. She is the one who taught us the secret of
silence. Jacob was engaged to Rachel, and Laban her father made a little trick so
he got Lead instead. Rachel and Leah were sisters who looked very much alike,
and since at the wedding she had a veil over her face, Jacob didn’t know which
one it was. The custom was not to unveil the bride until they got home, and it
was dark, and Jacob didn’t know that it wasn’t Rachel until the next morning.
Before the wedding Jacob said to Rachel, “I know your father. He is going to
put Leah under the canopy. Let’s make a sign between us. Laban knows I’m not
so stupid as to not know that he might fool me. Since he knows that I know that
he wants to fool me, he wants to be super clever. Laban will say to Leah, “When
Jacob asks you who you are, you have to say you are Rachel.” So let’s make the
sign between us that if it is really you say, “I am Leah”. Then I’ll know it is

    Both Rachel and Leah were very holy and very beautiful, but in different
ways. Leah comes from the word meaning hidden beauty. Some people are
beautiful, you look at them and you know they are beautiful. Some people you
have to look twice, three times, and each time you look they are more beautiful.
So Leah was hidden beauty from a hidden world, and Rachel was really an
obvious beauty.

    This was not a little wedding. Do you know what it meant? Who will be the
mother of all Israel? Who will be the mother of Messiah? Who will bring
salvation to the whole world? It was not a little thing. At that time Rachel didn’t
know that Jacob would marry her too. She knew what was going on. She could
have warned Jacob, “Watch out, it’s my sister.” Rachel knew that in a few
minutes her sister would be put to shame because Jacob would ask her after the
wedding, “Who are you?” If she answered “Rachel” he would make a big tumult
and say, “NO! She is not the one I want to marry”. Rachel couldn’t bear the
thought that her sister would be put to shame, so she walked over to Leah and
told her the secret sign between herself and Jacob. She told Leah, “When he asks
you who you are you have to say Leah, not Rachel.” So the Bible
says, “it was the next morning and she really was Leah.
The Zohar Chadash asks, what it means she really was? All night she was saying,
“I’m Leah” and she really was.

  The G’mora and the prophets say that Rachel is the secret of silence. How
will we ever get out of exile? Rachel will begin to cry and she will begin to talk.
G-d will say to Rachel, “If you who were silent all the time, if you begin to talk,
this is it. I can’t wait any longer.” So ultimately Rachel will bring Messiah.

by  Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach
Posted in: Personal Growth