we can learn another important lesson from this parshah – it is written – ויאהב יעקב את רחל, And Jacob loved Rachel. ויהיו בעניו כימים אחדים באהבתו אותה but they appeared to him like a few days because of his love for her.
Here the question is asked – how it is possible that it felt to him like just a few days? For when a person loves something, he waits for it with great anticipation until he gets it. And every day seems like an eternity to him. If so, how did seven years seem to him like a few days?
And furthermore – why does the Torah emphasize his love for her, is it not obvious that he loves her for he was willing to work for her for seven years?
R’ Eliyahu Lopian zt”l explains this with a mashal (parable) : A man arrives at a restaurant and sits down to eat. The waiter comes over and asks him what do you like better, fish or meat? Fish – he says. He asks him – are you sure you like fish? He tells him yes.
The waiter replies if so, why are you eating it? Because you really like yourself and not the fish. The fish is but an expression of your love for yourself. And so with all other worldly pleasures – a person thinks that he really loves a particular thing, but if he stops to think about it, he will see that he actually really loves himself. And here the Torah is emphasizing that Yaakov Avinu did not love himself, but rather he loved her!! And that’s why it is written his love for her. This is why it seemed to him like just a few days. Because if he would have loved himself it would have seemed like an eternity to him because he would have been anxiously awaiting the moment that he could have his pleasure.
But because he loved her and knew that with her he could build a house of Torah it did not feel to him like an eternity because however long it takes to reach perfection in worshiping God – is okay.
From here we learn a great lesson – sometimes a person thinks he loves his friend or his wife, but really he actually loves himself more than he loves his friend. The Torah teaches us what is a “Tru love” -to love someone without condition -no matter what his doing to you , and how he looks like. and only in this way you be able to love everyone.
We need to get stronger in our fulfillment of the mitzvah of בין אדם לחבירו, between man and his fellow man and increase our אהבת רעים, love of friends and invest more in giving to one another – which is the only way to manifest love.
And this way we will merit loving one another truly, and not only loving ourselves.
Shabbat shalom umevurach!!
Tiferet Rafael Synagogue