Leah: "That is easily the freakin' grossest thing I've ever heard in my life. Yuck. If there was anything in my stomach, it would be coming back." Seth: "They are vampires, I guess. I mean, it makes sense, and if it helps Bella, it's a good thing, right?" Leah and Jake stare at Seth. Seth: "What?" Leah: "Mom dropped him a lot when he was a baby." Jake: "On his head apparently." Leah: "He used to gnaw on the crib bars, too." Jake: "Lead paint?" Leah: "Looks like it." Seth: "Funny. Why don't you two shut up and sleep?
Why didn't Jacob simply refuse to go along with this bold, obvious swindle? Again, Robert Alter's insights are invaluable. When Jacob asks, 'Why have you DECEIVED me?' the Hebrew word is the same one used in chapter 27 to describe what Jacob did to Isaac. Alter then quotes an ancient rabbinical commentator who imagines the conversation the next day between Jacob and Leah. Jacob says to Leah: 'I called out "Rachel" in the dark and you answered. Why did you do that to me?' And Leah says to him, 'Your father called out "Esau" in the dark and you answered. Why did you do that to him?' His fury dies on his lips. He sees what it is like to be manipulated and deceived, and he meekly complies with Laban's offer.
Society. The same society, I might add, that dictates that little girls should always be sugar and spice and everything nice, which encourages them not to be assertive. And that, in turn, then leads to low self-esteem, which can lead to eating disorders and increased tolerance and acceptance of domestic, sexual, and substance abuse." "You get all that from a pink Onesie?" Leah said after a moment.
If anyone should want to know my name, I am called Leah. And I spend all my time weaving garlands of flowers with my fair hands, t o please me when I stand before the mirror; my sister Rachel sits all the day long before her own, and never moves away. She loves to contemplate her lovely eyes; I love to use my hands to adorn myself: her joy is in reflection, mine in act.
Before I can say I am, I was. Heraclitus and I, prophets of flux, know that the flux is composed of parts that imitate and repeat each other. Am or was, I am cumulative, too. I am everything I ever was, whatever you and Leah may think. I am much of what my parents and especially my grandparents were - inherited stature, coloring, brains, bones (that part unfortunate), plus transmitted prejudices, culture, scruples, likings, moralities, and moral errors that I defend as if they were personal and not familial.
Leah looked at her parents, lost in their own fantasies, and decided that the three of them were a pretty pathetic family - but she wasn't sure who was more pathetic: the dateless girl spending the night of the big dance by herself in her bedroom, or the parents who foolishly believed a boy would arrive on their doorstep with flowers, a limo, and a promise to rescue their daughter from her solitude.
They were married before they were friends, which is another way of saying: Their marriage was the occasion of their friendship. They were married before they noticed many small differences in background, aspiration, education, ambition. (...) Noting such differences, Leah was in some sense disappointed in herself that they did not cause real conflict between them. It was hard to get used to the fact that the pleasure her body found in his, and vice versa, should so easily overrule the many objections she had, or should have had, or thought she should have had.
The number seven is magical, they say. Seven years 'til our cells completely regenerate. Seven years 'til Jacob possesses Rachel, no, Leah, and seven more for Rachel. Seven days in a week. Post traumatic stress often resolves itself in toto only after seven full years have passed. Such is the case for some brain trauma patients too. Seven. It's a number worth remembering.
The central fact of biblical history, the birth of the Messiah, more than any other, presupposes the design of Providence in the selecting and uniting of successive producers, and the real, paramount interest of the biblical narratives is concentrated on the various and wondrous fates, by which are arranged the births and combinations of the 'fathers of God.' But in all this complicated system of means, having determined in the order of historical phenomena the birth of the Messiah, there was no room for love in the proper meaning of the word. Love is, of course, encountered in the Bible, but only as an independent fact and not as an instrument in the process of the genealogy of Christ. The sacred book does not say that Abram took Sarai to wife by force of an ardent love, and in any case Providence must have waited until this love had grown completely cool for the centenarian progenitors to produce a child of faith, not of love. Isaac married Rebekah not for love but in accordance with an earlier formed resolution and the design of his father. Jacob loved Rachel, but this love turned out to be unnecessary for the origin of the Messiah. He was indeed to be born of a son of Jacob - Judah - but the latter was the offspring, not of Rachel but of the unloved wife, Leah. For the production in the given generation of the ancestor of the Messiah, what was necessary was the union of Jacob precisely with Leah; but to attain this union Providence did not awaken in Jacob any powerful passion of love for the future mother of the 'father of God' - Judah. Not infringing the liberty of Jacob's heartfelt feeling, the higher power permitted him to love Rachel, but for his necessary union with Leah it made use of means of quite a different kind: the mercenary cunning of a third person - devoted to his own domestic and economic interests - Laban. Judah himself, for the production of the remote ancestors of the Messiah, besides his legitimate posterity, had in his old age to marry his daughter-in-law Tamar. Seeing that such a union was not at all in the natural order of things, and indeed could not take place under ordinary conditions, that end was attained by means of an extremely strange occurrence very seductive to superficial readers of the Bible. Nor in such an occurrence could there be any talk of love. It was not love which combined the priestly harlot Rahab with the Hebrew stranger; she yielded herself to him at first in the course of her profession, and afterwards the casual bond was strengthened by her faith in the power of the new God and in the desire for his patronage for herself and her family. It was not love which united David's great-grandfather, the aged Boaz, with the youthful Moabitess Ruth, and Solomon was begotten not from genuine, profound love, but only from the casual, sinful caprice of a sovereign who was growing old.
Vladimir S. Soloviev
The rain began to fall harder, and it distracted him, but he tried to pull himself back because he felt on the verge of understanding something large and important. It seemed to him that this moment-the light and wind, the sweep of fields, the falling rain, the lowing cows, Leah's form as it twisted to one side and then another-captured a sort of life that he longed for, a life of order and harsh beauty, and although this was his farm and his vision, it did not seem to be his life. It seemed instead to be the thing for which he must daily give up his life, an act of submission to something he could not name and only rarely, in moments such as these, have a sense of. Life during these moments seemed neither lost nor ruined but a power to be shared, as the grass shares its power with the living things that devour it.