What’s With the Sticks?

Continued from previous article.

Now that we saw how great Yaakov Avinu’s bitachon was, we have to answer a seeming contradiction. After Yaakov worked out his payment with Lavan, Lavan separated all the striped and spotted sheep do differentiate which ones belonged to him and which would belong to Yaakov. After this, Yaakov begins placing sticks with markings into the troughs of the animals. The animals then have children with similar markings which were the ones that they agreed would go to Yaakov.

If Yaakov had so much bitachon, why would he need to do such a thing? Why couldn’t he just rely that Hashem would make it work out in the end?

To answer, let’s remember that Lavan switched the deal even after the sheep were expecting. This would make the sticks pointless anyways!

The Alter has an explanation. In order for sheep to produce offspring, they need to be around other sheep with markings and patterns on them. (Although scientifically this has not been shown, science does not know what causes the fertility cycle in animals.)

When Lavan removed all the marked animals, there was nothing to keep up the production of sheep anymore. As a completely faithful worker, Yaakov took it upon himself to provide the needs of the sheep by placing the sticks instead of the marked animals.

It turns out that this was not in any way a lack of bitachon. Rather it was a sign of how trustworthy and faithful Yaakov really was.

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