Leah

58”X48” oil on canvas/wood 1997

In the lower panel of this painting, Leah is shown being led by her father, Laban, to the tent of Jacob. Leah is veiled so Jacob will not know that he has been deceived by being given Leah and not his intended and beloved Rachel for a wife.

The significance of this event has come down to us in the ceremony of “the veiling of the bride”, which now commonly takes place just before the Jewish marriage ceremony. In a joyous parade of guests, the groom is escorted to the bride to confirm her true identity and he then lowers her veil over her face.

In the lunette, a ladder is shown amid twelve stones, referring to the prophetic dream that Jacob has on route to Haran from Beersheba, in which he is promised the land and descendants as numerous as “the dust of the Earth”. Ironically, it is Leah, the “unloved” wife, who gives Jacob the greatest number of children and descendants.

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