Inevitable – In Memoriam of Mr. David M. Warren (Menachem Dovid ben Harav Yosef Z’L)
And Leah's eyes were weak and Rachel was very beautiful…” (Genesis 29:17)
Rebecca's brother, Laban, had two daughters, Leah and Rachel. Rashi (1040 – 1105; Genesis 29:17) explains that Leah's eyes were weak from crying because Leah thought she and her sister were destined to marry the sons of Isaac and, since Leah was older, she would have to marry the older son, Esau. (Rashi based upon the Midrash Rabba 400 CE – 600 CE; Bereishis 70:16)
If we examine the Midrash Rabba further, we see that Leah wasn't simply crying, she was crying out in prayer to G-d. And her prayers were answered. Not only did she marry the righteous Jacob but her marriage preceded that of her sister's.
Looking at Rashi a second time, we see that Leah was able to change her attitude through prayer. She had thought she was destined to marry Esau and was already resigned to that fate. But through prayer, she was able to alter her mindset and outlook – she prayed, and then no longer felt resigned to a certain fate. This change resulted in her marriage to Jacob instead and she went on to give birth to half the tribes of Israel. Leah teaches us the power of prayer; it can alter our mindset and that G-d can change our future.
Sometimes we feel powerless to change our circumstances, whether related to family, finances, health, or well-being. But the reality is that through prayer, we may no longer feel helpless. And from there, G-d willing, everything can change.