Did Jacob do it right?
Deu 21 (Ki Teitzei) thoughts:
Some writers feel the “unloved wife” portion of this Torah parsha is in reference to Jacob, Leah and Reuben.
If that is so, then perhaps the rebellious son portion which follows should also be considered:
1. Re the rebellious son. If he is to be described or confessed by father and mother as worthless and a drinker, doesn’t this put him into the category of an adult son, one who is probably not pulling his share of the load (or, who seduced his father’s concubine)? You normally wouldn’t define a younger child as such.
2. Since the rebellious son law follows the first born law, if the first born law is a criticism of Jacob’s treatment of Reuben, then possibly the rebellious son law is a “solution” which Jacob should have followed.
3. Although Jacob didn’t physically apply the rebellious son law re Reuben, perhaps he did spiritually through the “blessing” he pronounced on him—acknowledging first born status and demoting Reuben, with cause, at the same time. (Gen 49:3)
Not that this line of thinking would change anything, it just seems to be more equitable in the Reuben-Joseph first born controversy. In a sense it makes the “unloved wife” question moot.
Did Jacob do it right? Good question for when the Torah comes forth from Zion!
My loved wife (of 63 years) and I continue to be amazed, year after year, at the deep well of the Torah.