We find an argument takes place between Rachel and Leah, apparently over whose tent Yakov is to sleep in.
וַיֵּלֶךְ רְאוּבֵן בִּימֵי קְצִיר-חִטִּים, וַיִּמְצָא דוּדָאִים בַּשָּׂדֶה, וַיָּבֵא אֹתָם, אֶל-לֵאָה אִמּוֹ; וַתֹּאמֶר רָחֵל, אֶל-לֵאָה, תְּנִי-נָא לִי, מִדּוּדָאֵי בְּנֵךְ. וַתֹּאמֶר לָהּ, הַמְעַט קַחְתֵּךְ אֶת-אִישִׁי, וְלָקַחַת, גַּם אֶת-דּוּדָאֵי בְּנִי; וַתֹּאמֶר רָחֵל, לָכֵן יִשְׁכַּב עִמָּךְ הַלַּיְלָה, תַּחַת, דּוּדָאֵי בְנֵךְ. וַיָּבֹא יַעֲקֹב מִן-הַשָּׂדֶה, בָּעֶרֶב, וַתֵּצֵא לֵאָה לִקְרָאתוֹ וַתֹּאמֶר אֵלַי תָּבוֹא, כִּי שָׂכֹר שְׂכַרְתִּיךָ בְּדוּדָאֵי בְּנִי; וַיִּשְׁכַּב עִמָּהּ, בַּלַּיְלָה הוּא – Reuven went in the days of the wheat harvest, and he found flowers in the field and brought them to Leah, his mother, and Rachel said to Leah, “Please give me some of your son’s flowers.” And she said to her, “Is it not enough that you have taken my husband, that [you wish] to take my son’s flowers too?” So Rachel said, “Fine, he shall sleep with you tonight in return for your son’s flowers.” Yakov came from the field in the evening, and Leah came to meet him, and she said, “You shall come to me, because I have hired you with my son’s flowers,” and he slept with her on that night. (30:14-16)
The pasuk then discusses Leah’s children’s births, after which:
וַיִּזְכֹּר אֱלֹהִים, אֶת-רָחֵל; וַיִּשְׁמַע אֵלֶיהָ אֱלֹהִים, וַיִּפְתַּח אֶת-רַחְמָהּ – And Hashem remembered Rachel, and Hashem listened to her,and opened her womb. (30:22)
Rashi explains that what Hashem remembered was Rachel’s kindness to Leah, where the night Rachel was to be married, Yakov provided codes to know he had not been tricked, and Leah would it have know them, and would otherwise have been found out. Rachel passed on the codes, and Leah was not discovered until the next day.
But years had since passed – why does Hashem remember and repay Rachel’s kindness here?
R’ Ezra Hartman explains that in this episode, the Torah teaches us how to treat our fellow man. What was Leah thinking when she accused Rachel of taking her husband? Rachel was the sole facilitator that enabled Leah to have been a member of Yakov’s family – without the codes, Leah would have been left in the cold.
But Rachel does not say this.
R’ Ezra Hartman explains that sometimes, people like to rub in the fact that they’ve done someone a favour, that the other person owes them something. With a real favour, true kindness, the recipient is not aware that they are being done a favour. Rachel mentioned the codes in passing, for example, “Yakov likes to be told X and Y”. Leah was unaware of what Rachel had done for her, hence her question. She actually had no idea.
Rachel did not say a word about what had happened years earlier, and just talked about the flowers. It is very appropriate therefore, that at the perfect moment to silence Leah, her silence was rewarded, וַיִּזְכֹּר אֱלֹהִים, אֶת-רָחֵל – And Hashem remembered Rachel – specifically here, as the Seforno says, Hashem remembered her through the flowers.
Hashem repaid her her incredible kindness at the moment she showed she still stood by it.