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Dvar Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

 Dvar Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin

The Torah states, “And Jacob worked for Rachel for seven years; and it was in his eyes as a few days in his love for her.” When someone loves another even a short time apart can seem like an eternity. How is it possible that the time appeared to be a short time for Jacob?

In his classic commentary, the Malbim gives two answers:

  1. Jacob loved Rachel so much that he thought that she was worth working for many more than seven years. Therefore, to work only seven years for such a wonderful person was really a bargain.
  2. Jacob’s love for Rachel was not simple passion. When a person feels deep passion, a day can seem like a year. Jacob loved her because of her good qualities that would make her worthy of being the mother of the future Jewish people. A person whose love is based on passion really loves himself and not the object of his love. When a person loves the good in another, he truly loves the other person and not himself. (The Torah tells us Jacob’s focus was “in his love for her.”) Therefore, the time seemed short because it was not a selfish love.

The Alschich gives another approach: The seven years seemed like a few days in Jacob’s eyes AFTER he was married to Rachel. (This is the order of the words and events in the Torah.) His love and his happiness overshadowed and all but erased the pain of the seven years of work.

Our lessons: Clarify whether it’s a burning heart or heartburn — are you in love or are you infatuated? Secondly, if you have a difficult situation — like difficulty in finding a spouse — know that your trials and tribulations will seem insignificant in light of your happiness. Therefore, don’t suffer so much now; rather anticipate your future joy.

2020 Sandton Shul Batmitzvah Ceremony