Leah, third of the four matriarchs, was the oldest daughter of Laban, Rebecca’s brother. She married Jacob after her father deceived Jacob and switched her for his intended bride, her younger sister, Rachel.

The Torah tells us that while Rachel was beautiful, Leah’s eyes were soft, and the commentaries explain that they were soft from crying. Like all of the matriarchs, Leah faced many challenges in her life. In fact, she was originally destined to marry Jacob’s wicked brother Esau, but because of her tears and intense pleading, that decree was reversed and she became the mother of six of the 12 tribes of Israel: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar and Zebulun. She also gave birth to a daughter, whom she named Dinah.

Leah teaches us about the power of prayer. By her prayers alone, she was able to change her destiny (and the destiny of the entire Jewish nation). She also teaches us the importance of giving thanks when our prayers are answered. In fact, Leah named one of her sons Judah, which means “praise” and “thanks.” Interestingly, Judah became one of the most powerful tribes—King David was from the tribe of Judah. Saying “thank you” is more important than you think!

Leah was buried in the Cave of Machpelah in Hebron.


Resources

Explore the Cave of Machpelah


In-Depth Study

Why Jacob Loved Rachel . . . and Why He Had to Marry Leah
Leah gifted us with the strength to tug at our soul strings and talk to G‑d with integrity. Read


Outgoing Woman
Dinah’s encounter with the big, bad world should not have been avoided . . . Read