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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

Vayetseh 7-6

And (he) left

Genesis 31:17-42

Laban had gone to shear his sheep, and Rachel stole her father’s household gods. And Jacob tricked Laban the Aramean, by not telling him that he intended to flee.

Gen. 31:19, 20 ESV

What consequences did the two thefts bring?

Rachel stole the household idols – in Hebrew terafim תרפים – that belonged to her father. The Torah doesn’t reveal her motivation for stealing them therefore I won’t comment on that now. The truth is that The Torah says that she stole – in Hebrew ganav, גנב. To steal is to seize something that belongs to someone else. It can be an object, but it can also be anything that belongs to another person, such as time, inventions, copyright, friends, etc. In the Decalogue it is clearly stated “You shall not steal”. Stealing brings consequences.

What consequence fell on Rachel for having stolen her father’s idols?

When Lavan mentioned that someone had stolen his gods, Yaakov pronounced a curse on the person who did it. He didn’t know that Rachel had them, and that’s why he rushed to speak. This brought severe consequences in her life, such that she died before time, when she was giving birth to her second child.

Yaakov also stole, when he tricked Lavan by not telling him that he was going to flee. The Hebrew text says literally that Yaakov stole the heart of Lavan – vayignov Yaakov et lev Lavan,ויגנב יעקב את לב לבן  – which indicates that it is possible to steal someone’s heart.

What does this expression mean? It means that when two people trust each other their hearts are given to each other. Lavan trusted that Yaakov wouldn’t hurt or deceive him and that’s why he left to shear his sheep believing that Yaakov would tell him faithfully everything that happened. But Yaakov didn’t respond faithfully to Lavan’s trust and fled without saying anything. The Torah says that what Yaakov did was a theft and all thefts bring consequences.

What was the consequence of this theft?

The short term consequence was that Lavan went out to pursue Yaakov with intentions of hurting him. But in spite of Yaakov not being clean, the Eternal helped him and rebuked Lavan so he wouldn’t hurt Yaakov.

However, what Yaakov did wasn’t good before the Eternal. There was still something in his character that hadn’t been submitted to the Spirit of the Sanctified one, blessed be him. Yaakov was still a deceiver. This black dot in his soul had to be corrected before Yaakov could enter the promised land.

That’s why the Eternal sent one of his angels to deal with this area of his life. Eventually, the angel was able to break Yaakov’s strength so he humbled himself and acknowledged that his name was Yaakov – supplanter. In that moment, his name was changed into Israel.

The consequence of Rachel’s theft was a premature death and Yaakov’s, a deep damage both emotional and physical – his hip was left hurt.

Dear disciple, do not steal.

Shalom uvrajah – peace and blessing,


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