Reader: I am working on a project with the intention
that it should be for "the masses" --Jews and non-Jews.
with that in mind, I
Mesora: The authors certainly
know their intended meanings, while readers must decipher what
they wrote. Of course the
Reader: Without going into the fundamentals of the
mesora, I thought the ma'amar itself, if I could unlock the wisdom,
would teach a concept that clearly illustrates a system of wisdom.
Which leads me to my problem: I am studying the issue of
Mesora: Chazal say they
were barren because "God's loves the prayers of the righteous."
I understand this to mean that God
Reader: If there is a purpose to their infertility, why wasn't Leah, one of the Matriarchs, afflicted with it?
Mesora: It seems Leah
too was infertile. The Torah says that God opened her womb, implying
she was barren prior to God's act
Reader: Assuming there was a particular purpose for
the infertility of the Matriarchs, can that purpose apply to
me if my
Mesora: Since Chazal state
that the matriarchs were in fact infertile due to God's providence,
if you experienced infertility
Reader: Methodically speaking, it would make sense
if we could establish that Leah, too, was susceptible to infertility.
I found some sources that discuss why Leah was not infertile.
Bereshis Raba 71:2. When Yaakov Avinu saw what happened [Lavan's deception], he had in mind to divorce her; and when Hashem remembered her with children, Yaakov said, "Can I divorce the mother of these?" Is this to be taken literally?
Mesora: Yes, unless we can't take something literally due to impossible circumstances, why not understand this literally? A Rabbi was much against a metaphorical interpretation of the snake in Genesis. He said, "If you take the snake as metaphor, then why not Adam and Eve? Everything can be metaphoric." That would destroy the Torah. This Rabbi had no problem understanding the snake as a "missing link", something that was not man, but had speech. A real beast.
Reader: Was Yaakov planning to divorce Leah? Did he
wait out the month to see if she was pregnant? But the chazal
Mesora: The Rabbi once mentioned that Leah never gained the love of Yaakov. She was unsatisfied regarding her wish for his love. When Chazal write, it is not only in metaphor, but they also write comments on Biblical personalities to convey their values, emotions, etc. Perhaps there was a Mesora on Yaakov's dissatisfaction with Leah, who tricked him. Perhaps there wasn't. I don't know. Either way, Chazal intended to convey some position of Yaakov vis a vis Leah.
These issues will be explored further in the upcoming book "Infertility in the Bible: A Rational Approach"