Posted by: mosesfromsinai | November 23, 2009

Vayaitzay – Establishing a Home Based on Purity

This week Moses gets to actually see sort of a deja vu.   Moses met his wife for the first time by a well that was used to water the flock.  He now has the opportunity to watch how Yakov meets Rochel.

Yakov approaches a well used for watering the flock and inquires from the people gathered if they know of a Lavan.  The shepherds reply that they indeed do and look there is Rochel, his daughter, coming to water her flock.  Yakov uses his strength to roll the rock, covering the well, back and the water rises to water Rochel’s flock on its own.  Yakov rushes to greet Rochel.  He kisses her, he cries and then explains who he is.  Quite a bit at one time.  We are told that he cries because he is suddenly shown a vision of her death and her not being buried with him.  Yakov also felt saddened that he comes with no gifts or money to give to Rochel.

(No, his mother, Rivka, and his father, Yitzchak, gave him plenty of money.  No, he did not spend it on tuition in the Yeshiva of Ever for the 14 years he learned Torah before going to Lavan.  Yakov was an exceptional student and was on full scholarship.  Yakov needed these 14 years of learning to prepare himself for the likes of Lavan the Arami – crook.  His Torah study would help maintain his pure values that he had learned in his parent’s home.)

The money and presents Yakov had with him were taken by Eliphaz, the son of Esav.  Esav had sent Eliphaz to kill Yakov but Eliphaz, when catching up to Yakov, refused.  Yakov suggested that he take all his money and gifts, leaving Yakov a pauper.  A pauper is symbolically compared to a  dead person and in this way Eliphaz would be obeying his father, Esav.

Later we will see Lavan, hugging and kissing Yakov in an attempt to find money or hidden gems, but they are all gone.

Oh about the kiss that Yakov gave Rochel, we do not hear Moses complaining, so it must have been a kiss of modesty as she was indeed still a very young girl and a kiss not out of passion but out of family relationship.

Anyhow this makes three separate marriages that begin at a well.  Eliezer first met Rivka at the well.  Now we have Yakov meeting Rochel at a well and Moses, who is watching all this, met his match, Tzipporah, at a well.  The symbolism is fairly clear.  The well water represents a state of purity.   Marriage needs to be entered and maintained in a pure form.  We thus find the ritual of Mikvah, a natural body of water, that a woman needs to immerse herself –  7 days after the cessation of her menstrual flow.  We also saw that the flood waters for 40 days and 40 nights served as a form of purification for the world.  The Mikvah must contain at least 40 Sah (a Hebrew measurement) of water to purify.  (Moses obviously realizes that his 40 days and nights ‘upstairs’ is to ensure that his learning and absorption of Torah is totally pure).

When embarking on establishing a Jewish household, the approach must be based on purity and maintained in purity.  Three great Jewish woman showed us this by their association with a well, Rivka, Rochel and Tzipporah.


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