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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

Vayetseh 7-4

And (he) left

Genesis 30:14-27

Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb.

Gen. 30:22 ESV

Were the mandrakes effective or not?

Mandrakes – in Hebrew dudaim,דודאים  – were considered efficient to help increase fertility. When Rachel saw Leah’s firstborn give her some mandrakes, she asked Leah to give them to her in exchange for a night with Yaakov. She believed that they might help her to be fertile and have children.

But we see that the Torah doesn’t say that the mandrakes made any effect in Rachel. Even if the Torah doesn’t show events in a successive way, it seems that in this case there was a period of time between the mandrakes episode and Rachel being healed from infertility.

Were the mandrakes effective or not?

No, they weren’t. The Torah doesn’t say that it was thanks to the mandrakes that Rachel was healed, but thanks to the Eternal who remembered her and listened to her.

But, can the Eternal forget anything so that He has to remember? No. This is an expression in the sacred Scriptures that indicates that there are moments when the Eternal, Who is outside His creation, considers, visits and intervenes in the life of an individual in a personal way.

The Eternal had remained passive regarding Rachel for years. She prayed a lot and for a long time without getting an answer. The Eternal opted to wait because He had a purpose. If the Eternal is quiet it is because He has a plan.

It is not good that a person gets what he wants immediately all the time. It is good that parents teach their children not to get all they want. It is good for the children to learn to wait for certain things because many times waiting produces positive traits in the soul. The modern culture of immediate and instant results creates characters with no patience and lacking inner strength to endure anything.

Yaakov worked hard for seven years before being able to marry the woman he loved. He didn’t suggest marrying first and working later, but he endured seven years of waiting in order to get for which his heart yearned. He is an example of an approved character who worked patiently in order to achieve long term goals. An immature person cannot wait but prefers a short term benefit even if it is smaller than a long term one. A mature person knows to deny receiving a short or mid-term benefit in order to achieve a bigger benefit on the long run.

HaShem wanted to produce something in Rachel’s character and that’s why He made her wait. And, eventually, He remembered her and listened to her prayers, pleas and tears that were kept in heaven until the proper time came.

Don’t think that the Eternal’s silence means He doesn’t listen to your prayers. If there is silence, there is a purpose for it. The Eternal is more interested in shaping your character than in giving you what you want. It is true that the Eternal’s plan was to give Rachel children but there were areas in Rachel’s character that needed some work and that’s why the Eternal preferred to wait with the answer so He could change her way of being before giving her children. What she was going to give of herself to her children became more valuable to the Eternal with the results from that period of silence from heaven.

May the Eternal grant you your heart’s desire in His time and His way, 


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