On what grounds was Yaakov angry with Rachel?


Rashi, Seforno, Targum Onkelos and Targum Yonasan: Because she intimated that he was able to replace Hashem 1 by granting her children. 2 If she wanted children, then she should turn to Hashem (and not to him), for He was the One who withheld children from her. 3


Tosfos ha'Shalem (4), Ramban #1: He was angry because she expected him to put on sack-cloth and ashes and to fast (out of his love for her) and to pray, so that she should not die out of distress. 4


Tosfos ha'Shalem (4), Ramban #2: To be sure, Yaakov prayed for Rachel, only his Tefilos were not answered. And Rachel now complained that, if his father's Tefilos on behalf of his wife were answered, then he must pray more, and his Tefilos too will be answered. To which Yaakov replied that bearing children was not in his hands, but in the Hands of Hashem, and that if his father's Tefilos were answered, it was because he was a Tzadik. Moreover, Yitzchak was destined to have children, whereas he (Yaakov) already had children, and it was she from whom Hashem was withholding them. 5


Bechor Shor: He interrupted before she finished speaking. 6 He thought that she asked him to put a fetus in her womb.


Ohr ha'Chayim #1: He was angry because she cursed herself. Such words of a Tzadik take effect. 7


Ohr ha'Chayim #2: She said 'give to me children,' and not 'pray for me.'


Gur Aryeh: Rashi explains "ha'Sachas Elokim Anochi" as "Am I in Hashem's place?" I might have mistakenly understood the word 'Tachas' literally as, 'Am I under Hashem's [control].' Certainly, everyone is under Hashem and His control.


Though that was not what she really meant (Seforno).


Seforno: Since he discerned in her signs that she was an Ailonis (who could not have children).


Refer to 30:1:3:2.


Ramban: Women beloved to their husbands often frighten their husbands through possibility of death. Due to his rebuke, she could not rely on him, and prayed for herself.


This is astounding. A boor interrupts another's words, but a Chacham does not (Avos 5:7)! Perhaps he did so to stop her from cursing herself or saying heresy (refer to 30:2:1:1 and to 30:2:1:5). (PF)


Some say that she died due to this (refer to 30:1:3:5)!


Why did he reject her argument?


Rashi: He countered that his father prayed because he did not have children yet, whereas he (Yaakov) already had children. 1


Ha'amek Davar: She thought that Bnei Leah are not important to him, and it is as if he has no children. This is not so!


Gur Aryeh: Chazal infer this from the added term, "from you." - The Ramban queries why Yaakov would not pray for her, but concedes that Chazal (Bereishis Rabah 71:7) took Yaakov to task - 'Is that how one answers someone in distress?'


Why were Avraham and Yitzchak initially barren, but not Yaakov?


Maharal (Chidushei Agados Vol. 1, p. 141, to Yevamos 64a): Refer to 29:31:2.1:1, and the other answers referenced there.


What is the meaning of, "ha'Sachas Elokim Anochi"?


Tosfos ha'Shalem (6): Rachel wanted Yaakov to change her name so she could have children. 1


Tosfos ha'Shalem (7): We learn from here that Yaakov's image is on the Kisei ha'Kavod. 2


Yaakov answered that a name with a Hei is needed, like [Sarai was barren, and Hashem changed her name to] Sarah - "Hei Lachem Zera" (47:23). Refer to 30:3:2:2.


Also Yosef said so (50:19). Tosfos ha'Shalem (5) infers that [all] the Shevatim are under the Kisei ha'Kavod.



Rashi writes: "It is from you that Hashem has withheld children, and not from me!" Is that a reason to refrain from praying on Rachel's behalf?


Gur Aryeh: The twelve Shevatim were not ordinary children (but rather a precise spiritual entity). Hashem intended to bring forth each tribe from a specific mother. Yaakov did not want to alter this plan.

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