ראובן

Another example of how the Talmud adds more information to biblical stories, comes from this week’s Parsha, ויצא. The incident involves Leah’s naming her first son, ראובן.

The Torah seems to indicate that Leah was longing for Yakov to love her like he loved Rachel. Hashem answered her prayers by giving her Yakov’s first son. She said, ראה ה׳ את עניי, that Hashem saw my affliction, and she named him ראובן.

The Talmud has a different take to the story. It says the name ראובן is really two words, ראו בן, see what a son I have. Leah allegedly said, “Look at my son, Reuven. He’s not like my father in-law’s other son, Eisav. He willingly sold the birthright and then complained about it. My son, Reuven, had the birthright taken from him ( with the incident of moving Bilha’s bed) and he did not complain. He even tried to save Yosef when he was thrown in the pit!”

This accounting of what transpired, seems to allow to get more of an understanding of our saintly ancestors and their struggles.