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Women's Corner

Rahel Immenu: Our Beloved Matriarch

Rabbanith Ruth Menashe
Sunday, October 20, 2013/Heshwan 16, 5774

You can watch Rabbanith Ruth Menashe's lecture on Rahel Immenu, given a few days ago, at:
http://www.nonstoptorah.com/node/348
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Rahel Immenu, who passed away over 3,500 years ago, is a most beloved figure. Jews always turned to her in times of hardship, pouring out their hearts and asking her to pray on their behalf. She had countless virtues that we, as women, should embrace. I would like to focus on one of those admirable virtues.

When the Jewish people went into exile, after the destruction of the first Temple, it was Rahel Immenu, 'a"h, who was able to arouse G-d's mercy. She elicited G-d's famous reply: "And the children will go back to their borders".  Neither Abraham Abinu, nor Yis-haq Abinu, Yaaqob Abinu or Moshe Rabbenu, 'a"h, were able to annul G-d's decree, in spite of their powerful arguments.

What was different about Rahel Immenu? We all understand that she was willing to give up her whole dream and future in order not to embarrass her sister. She did the opposite of what we would expect any human being to do. But what was most unique about her was that she did it for another human being, her sister. It was not like the case of Abraham Abinu, 'a"h, who was willing to sacrifice his son because this was the commandment of G-d. She was not commanded to do so, but it was her own noble character that caused her to do it, in order to not embarrass her sister, as we have mentioned.

We must understand, that when she did this selfless deed, she thought that she was giving up all hope of marrying Ya'aqob Abinu, 'a"h, and giving up her dreams of a lifetime.

Hakham Yoseph Hayyim, a"h, the Torah giant from Baghdad, zy'a"a, explains that it is much harder to give up one's desires and ambitions for the sake of another human being, as Rahel Immenu did, as opposed to doing so for the Holy One blessed be He. This is the unimaginable  virtue of our mother Rahel, 'a"h. May we merit to follow in her footsteps.

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