Why does the Torah tell us about the petirah of Rochel and about where she’s buried in such detail?
When Rochel passed away, it was a tragedy. So that itself is noteworthy. However, there’s much more than that. I’m going to tell you just one little prat that we learn from the story of Rochel.
It says היא מצבת קבורת רחל עד היום – that’s the monument of Rochel’s kever till this day. It states in Sefer Shmuel that men met someone at the grave of Rochel. Now, from the time that Rochel passed away until the Sefer Shmuel was very many years, hundreds of years; but the grave of Rochel was still known. Kever Rochel was still there – it was still known. And in the times of the chachomim, of the mishna, the kever of Rochel was still known. And in the 16th century there was a traveler who said he visited the grave of Rochel.
So it means the grave of Rochel is still standing. And if there was a grave of Rochel, there was a Rochel. It testifies there was a Rochel. And if there was a Rochel, there was a Yankev. And therefore, that grave testifies to the truth of the history of the Torah. That’s one of the testimonies.
That’s very important! Don’t underestimate it. Of course, you’re a frum Jew and you believe the chumash. There’s no harm, however, to know when you visit the Kever Rochel, it’s a monument that’s been standing there since Rochel passed away. And therefore everything in the Torah is just as real as the grave of Rochel. That’s one of the many purposes of telling this story.
There’s another purpose. The other purpose is this. You know when Yankev set forth from his home to find a wife in Padan Aram and he met Rochel at the well, immediately he knew, this is the one for him. He loved Rochel. And he didn’t intend at all to marry Leah. And Leah would have remained unmarried to him. It was only by accident of trickery that Leah became his wife.
But what was the end? The end was that Rochel passed away early and Leah was the one who was finally buried together with Yankev Avinu in Me’aras Hamachpeilah. It’s a remarkable story. She wasn’t the one he chose! Rochel was the one! And Rochel was left out and Leah was the one who lived long enough to be buried together with Yankev in Me’aras Hamachpeilah.
So when you visit Me’aras Hamachpeilah where the Avos are buried, Rochel is not there. To let us know that Hakadosh Baruch Hu knows what He’s doing. And even though you thought that she is the chosen one, Hashem said, “No. That’s why I had Leah brought into you by trickery because she’s the one.”
Why is she the one? Because Rochel’s children are represented among us in a very minor part. Binyamin. But Leah’s son Yehuda, that’s the Jewish nation. We’re Yehudim. We’re not Binyamin. We’re not called Shimonim. We’re not called anything else. We’re called Yehudim! And who gave the name Yehuda? Do you know who gave that name? Leah gave that name to her son. So Leah won out.
And why did Leah win out? Because Leah prayed harder. Rochel was the beloved one, so she was more confident. Leah was the less loved, so she prayed harder. She prayed much harder. She prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed. “Oh,” Hakadosh Baruch Hu said, “You’re thinking about Me all the time, then I’m thinking about you.” And that’s why Leah won out, because she was misgaber with her tefillos. The gemara says that.
So we see the one who prayed harder is the one who won out. And that’s why despite the fact that he had thought that Rochel would be his wife and she’d be the mother of the Klal Yisrael, it turned out just the opposite; Leah turned out to be the one who was buried with him and she’s the mother of Klal Yisrael.
TAPE # 992