Leah September 7, 2023

Leah Created By Rebecca Keene With Bing Image Creator

Leah was the older sister of Rachel. Leah’s life was hard due to poor eyesight and lack of true love. Yet, she persisted and became a matriarch of our faith.  Through disability and loneliness, she overcame. Despite Leah’s disadvantages, she was a fighter and stood up for herself.

The Older Sister Should Marry First

Leah was the older sister. Therefore, Leah should have been married first according to tradition, but the text tells us Leah was “weak-eyed.” We may take this to mean she was blind or at the least had very poor vision. Bible Hub commentary states that she may have had Ophthalmia, which was common to people living in a hot sandy region. Ophthalmia is an inflammation of the eye which can result in blindness.  A disability like that would have been a hindrance to marriage, as a man would not want to take on the responsibility. Thus, Jacob fell in love with her beautiful younger sister, Rachel.

Leah’s father agreed to allow Jacob to marry Rachel if Jacob worked for him for 7 years, but when the day came for the wedding Leah snuck into Jacob’s tent instead of Rachel. With this deception, she ensured a marriage, children, and a livelihood for herself. While The Torah does not say so, The Midrash suggests Rachel helped with this scheme to ensure her older sister with weak eyes was married first.

Leah Stands Up To Her Sister

Leah becomes pregnant and has children for Jacob, which brings her a sense of pride. Yet, we still see her lament that her husband does not love her and instead loves her sister, Rachel. She is envious of her sister and the love Jacob has for her.

Jacob is finally allowed to marry Rachel after another 7 years of labor. This causes much strife between the two sisters because Rachel soon learns she can not get pregnant. She then becomes envious of Leah. One day, one of Leah’s sons brings her the mandrakes he had picked. Rachel seeing an opportunity to perhaps cure her bareness asks Leah if she can have some of the mandrakes.  Here for the first time, we get a real glimpse of Leah’s character and see her stand up for herself. She replies to Rachel saying “Wasn’t it enough that you took away my husband? Will you take my son’s mandrakes too?”  Rachel offers Leah the chance to sleep with their husband that night in exchange for mandrakes. Leah agrees. Soon both sisters are pregnant.

Leah and Rachel Take Revenge

With Rachel able to conceive, the sisters seem to put their differences aside. By the time Jacob decides to leave, the sisters are united in their aggression towards their father, whom they believe squandered their inheritance and sold them. Leah joins her sister in saying “Do we have any portion or inheritance left in our father’s house? 15 Are we not regarded by him as outsiders? Not only has he sold us, but he has certainly squandered what was paid for us. 16 Surely all the wealth that God has taken away from our father belongs to us and to our children. So do whatever God has told you.”

As I mentioned in the Rachel article, this may be the most feminist thinking in The Torah. These two strong, beautiful women, are angry because their father sold them and squandered their inheritance, in a world where women rarely inherited and were often thought of as property. These women saw themselves as more than property, and as deserving of an inheritance as any son.


Leah was born with a disability, but Leah was not disabled. She did not let that disability stop her from marrying, having children, becoming a matriarch of our faith, or standing up for herself and her rights.  When we remember Leah, I hope that we remember that no matter what our challenges, we can prevail. Leah reminds me that it is not what we were born with but who we are that determines our life’s course. Circumstances are what they are, but we choose how we respond to them.

Stay tuned for the continuation of The Women in The Bible series. Click here to subscribe to the newsletter and be alerted when new articles are published. Also, next week, our guest blogger Joseph Parks, will return to finish his series on Ancient Egypt. So, you do not want to miss anything.


About Rebecca Keene
The author, Rebecca Keene, has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Religion. She graduated from the University of Pikeville as Religion Honor Student in 2014. Currently, she is studying for a MA in Women, Gender, Spirituality, and Social Justice at the California Institute of Integral Studies. Also, Rebecca is the author of FAITH UNDER THE RAINBOW: RECLAIMING THE TRUTH ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY AND THE BIBLE.  In addition, she founded and independently runs the social media community, Reclaiming the Truth.  Therefore, you should visit Rebecca's author page and purchase her books at: Amazon Author Page or: Publication Page Rebecca is currently in her 3rd year of Kabbalah study. She is ordained to perform LGBT weddings and is certified in Hypnotherapy. Rebecca lives in Kentucky with her two adult children. She practices Non-Denominational Judaism. She is passionate about social justice and fiercely advocates for the marginalized in society and religion.  When not with her children or writing, Rebecca enjoys spending time in nature, with G-d, or in a good book.  She also enjoys making and selling art which you can find at Art by Rebecca. Author, Rebecca Keene,  is always happy to hear from readers. You may contact her through the Reclaiming the Truth page on Facebook, or you can email keenerebecca@yahoo.com Rebecca will try to answer all correspondence, but please be patient, as life is busy for us all. You can read more about the author here.

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