A ‘Your Mother’s Guidance’ post by Rebecca Masinter
Mothers are supposed to talk. A lot. That is one of our strengths. When we walk with a young child, we point out leaves and caterpillars. When we read aloud with our children we share our opinions about the characters’ choices. We show interest in our children’s lives by asking questions that lead to more than one-word answers. Sometimes, however, we also must stay silent.
Genesis 34:5 says, “And Jacob heard that he [Shechem] had defiled Dina while his sons were in the field, and Jacob was silent until they came.” He didn’t rush to respond, but kept his counsel and waited. Even after the whole story is over Jacob doesn’t rush to press his opinion on his children. He tells Simon and Levi a short rebuke, but Simon and Levi answer him back and they actually have the final word in this section. Jacob doesn’t respond back to them, he bides his time and holds his tongue until the very end of his life when he addresses their role in this story. (Genesis 49:5)
Similarly, when Reuben moved Jacob’s bed to his mother, Leah’s, tent, the verse says, “and Israel heard.” Jacob noticed what happened but he waited and didn’t respond immediately. Here also, he waited until Genesis 49 in his final blessing to rebuke Reuben for this action.