Kenneth Cohen


The loyalty shown by Rachel to her sister, Leah, is one of the greatest acts of kindness in the entire Torah. This lesson needs to be shouted out, loud and clear.

The love between Yakov and Rachel was very deep. They were both aware that Lavan was a dishonest cheat. They prepared themselves for that eventuality. There were signs given to Rachel in case Lavan would try to do some kind of deception.

Rachel suddenly realized that her sister could have been greatly embarrassed and humiliated, if she were to expose her father’s deceit.
Leah would have been destroyed and she might have even been given over to Eisav in marriage. She would not have gone down in history as one of our matriarchs.

She gave Leah the signs Yakov had given her, to allow her to have dignity and self respect. We are told that Rachel’s act of kindness, made him love her even more.

Rav Elazar Abuchatzeira זצ״ל, once commented on this story. He said that not only is loyalty extremely important, but not destroying another Jew, is equally important.

He gave an example of someone that had a legal dispute with another individual. He wins the case and the other person now owes him a great deal of money.

The guilty party pleads with the winner of the case, and tells him that he does not have the money to pay him. If he has to pay somehow, he will be totally ruined. Rav Elazar said that if he collects even a penny, he will see no blessings from the money.

All of this is learned from the magnanimous act of Rachel to her sister. We are a compassionate people that deeply care about one another. We need only to take great care to direct our compassion where it needs to go.

We must not forget that compassion for our enemies, is cruelty. We must have the courage to complete the task of utterly destroying Hamas.

About the Author
Rabbi Cohen has been a Torah instructor at Machon Meir, Jerusalem, for over twenty years while also teaching a Talmud class in the Shtieblach of Old Katamon. Before coming to Israel, he was the founding rabbi of Young Israel of Century City, Los Angeles. He recently published a series of Hebrew language-learning apps, which are available at