Go to Home Page
Nancy's Story
Memorial Fund
Guest Book
About This Site

Book Menu
Continued from previous page
In the Steps of Rachel


“Thus says the Lord, a voice was heard in Rama, lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children . . .”


WHAT WAS RACHEL, our mother, weeping about? The commentaries quote the Medrash that it was a terrible time for the people of Israel. Menashe, the wicked king, had just put an idol in the holy Temple in Jerusalem. G-d was very angry with His people. Everyone in heaven came to our defense: our forefathers Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov, our foremothers Sarah, Rivka, Rachel and Leah. Even Moshe Rabbeinu. All pleaded for G-d to have mercy on His people.

We can just imagine what those greatest of tzaddikim had to say. Perhaps Avraham Avinu said to G-d, “I was willing to walk into a fiery furnace for Your sake. I was willing to sacrifice my beloved son for You. Please don’t give up on my children.”

Along came Yitzchak. “I was willing to die for You. How can You now abandon my children?”

And what about Moshe Rabbeinu? We know that he had a long list of merits to collect on. Who led the Jewish people out of Egypt? Who bravely stood up to Pharaoh and the mighty Egyptian army just as G-d commanded? Who split the sea? Who spent forty days and nights without food or water on Mount Sinai and brought the Torah down from the mountain and taught it to Israel?
Did G-d accept the pleading of Moshe? Did G-d accept the prayers of Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov?

No. Whose words appeased G-d and allowed Him to have mercy on His people at such a critical moment in history? It was none other than our mother, Rachel.

What did Rachel say to G-d? When the time came to marry Yaakov, and Rachel saw her father bringing her sister Leah to the canopy instead of her, not only did she keep quiet so as not to embarrass her sister, she even gave Leah the secret signs that Yaakov had prearranged with Rachel. He had anticipated his father-in-law’s crafty reputation, and did not want to be deceived into marrying someone else.

“ I brought a competitive wife into my house,” cried Rachel to G--d. “So too, G-d,” cried Rachel, “even though Your children brought a stranger—an idol into Your house, the Temple, if I, a mere human, did not speak up, You, the immortal and Divine G-d, should also be silent.”

That did it! G-d accepted Rachel’s prayer and had mercy on His people.

What was so special about Rachel’s behavior? Was it greater than the splitting of the sea? Can it compare to the famous Akeidat Yitzchak? Those were acts of historical proportions. How is it possible that the private action of one sister for another could have more weight in G-d’s eyes than the well-known heroic deeds of our forefathers?

That’s exactly the point, explained Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik zt”l (Yemei Zikaron, pg. 190). Avraham and Moshe performed tremendous deeds. But they were in the public eye. The world saw the exodus unfold. The world saw and heard of Avraham’s sacrifice of himself and of his child. But no one saw Rachel give her sister the sign. No one was there to publicize the selfless act of Rachel. Rachel acted with absolute self-sacrifice.


Continued on next page


Acknowledgments Introduction Testimonies Photo Gallery 1 Reflections from Nancy's Mother