When is a kiss more than "just a kiss"?
When is a kiss more than "just a kiss"? When the same word is mentioned four times in the same Torah portion, or parasha, that's when!
In parshat Vayeitzei, kisses are employed in different ways:
1) As an act of love via watering the sheep for Rachel,(the root "vayashk= to water, and the root "vayishak" are grammatically "kissing cousins" if you will:)
2) As a fortuitous greeting between the cousins Jacob and Rachel,
3) As a grudging recognition of kinship between Laban and his nephew, Jacob
4) As the final goodbye between Laban and his daughters,perhaps as a reminder of his status as their father rather than as a sign of true affection; or perhaps, he finally realizes that his greed has deprived him of his greatest treasures.
The kiss will also figure prominently in the greeting, after so many years, between the formerly deceitful Jacob and his deceived brother, Esau. So many meanings to such a deceptively simple act! With each kiss, the deeper plan unfolds, as Jacob's children will discover, in the words of a song,"as time goes by".
To view pictures of Rachel's and Leah's headresses, please visit www.renaissancewomankippot.org and click on The Biblical Mothers Collection