The Torah describes how Le’ah went out to greet Ya’akov and proudly declared, “sachor sichartica,” “I hired you to be with me.” (30:16). If I asked you why Leah named her child Yisachar, I have no doubt that after reading that pasuk you would tell me that it’s because of those words. However, that’s not the reason, as we read just a few pesukim later (30:18):
“Vatomer Leah nasan Elokim es sechari asher nasati shifchasi l’ishi…”
“Leah said, ‘Hashem has given me my reward for giving my maid to my husband…'”
Why does Leah give what sounds like a far-fetched justification for Yisachar's name instead of giving the reason we all anticipated? R’ Shimon Sofer writes that Leah deliberately avoided mentioning “sachor sicharticha” because she knew that mentioning it would cause Rachel pain. Imagine how Rachel would have felt, having no children of her own, if she was reminded at the naming of yet another baby of her sister's that she had given up a chance to be with Ya'akov in exhange for flowers! Leah therefore doesn't mention it, but the Torah spells Yisachar with a double letter sin to hint that there is another reason for Yisachar's name, another schar, the “sachor sicharticha,” that Leah had a right to boast of, but that she would never say openly for fear of hurting Rachel.
When I saw this shtickel it dawned on me that it is the mirror image of the beautiful vort gTorah (who has lots of other nice stuff worth your attention!) posted. A few pesukim later the Torah says “Vayizkor Elokim es Rachel” and Rachel finally gives birth. Rashi writes that Hashem “remembered” that Rachel had given to Leah the secret signs that Ya’akov had made up with her before their wedding to prevent trickery. Rachel did not want to stand by idly and watch her sister suffer the embarrassment of being exposed and rejected by Ya’akov, so she gave those signs to Leah.
Why is that zechus brought up here? That happened when Rachel and Leah were first married – this is years later?
GTorah quotes R’Ezra Hartman as explaining that when Leah accused Rachel of trying to take both her husband and her children’s flowers (30:15), Rachel had the perfect comeback. Rachel could easily have told Leah that if not for her giving away the secret signs, Leah would never have been married to Ya’akov to begin with! But she doesn’t say anything – she holds her tongue rather than embarrass her sister.
So in one parsha we have Leah swallowing her desire to boast “sachor sicharticha” in order to to prevent Rachel from being embarrassed, and in the very same episode we have Rachel swallowing her perfect comeback in order to prevent Leah from being embarrassed -- one coin, two sides, and a tremendous lesson.