It must have been difficult enough for Leah to be overlooked as Jacob laboured seven years to earn Rachel’s hand in marriage; more so, to be deceitfully and forcibly substituted into the marriage by her own father.
Even worse, her new husband deemed her insufficient, agreeing to an additional seven years’ labour to win Rachel as his bride.
Despite knowing herself unloved, Leah does not lash out against her sister (and the handmaids), but channels her jealousy as a tool for her own spiritual growth.
Not living up to her name (meaning “weary”), she mothers seven of Jacob’s children (six of the Tribes of Israel) and thus influences the course of our faith history.
Leah’s story invites us to reflect on our understanding of God’s love in action in areas of so-called biblical marriage, faithfulness to God, the role of women in biblical history, the importance of family, how we respond to our emotions and the way God’s will permeates through all of us (even when we may not recognise it at the time).
Laura Marie Piotrowicz, Port Dalhousie.