Thursday, October 29, 2009

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Happy Mother's Day!

by Rebbetzin Ida at Mystical Paths

Today is the yartzheit of Rochel Imanu (the Matriarch Rachel, wife of our forefather Jacob). On a yartzheit (date commemorating a death) we wish the neshama (soul) to ascend to a higher level than last year, though we are taught that Momma Rochel stands in a high place crying for her children - demanding their redemption.

What is so special about our Matriarch Rachel that her yaretzheit is celebrated by Jews worldwide? Further, why is Rachel called the Akeret Habayit, the foundation of the home?

We know from the Torah (Bible) that Rachel was the one who was to marry our forefather Jacob first. But her father Lavan tricked Jacob, and at unbelievable personal sacrifice she she divulged the secret signs between Jacob and her to her sister Leah to avoid her sister being shamed.

Then comes the story of Leah's son Reuven who brought home flowers for his mother. Rachel asks Leah for some and Leah responds 'no, is it not enough that you took my husband now you want my flowers too?' What are the lessons we learn from these stories?

What were the secret signs that Rachel revealed to her sister? They were the 3 mitzvot (commandments) that are especially given to a woman: lighting the Shabbas and holiday candles, challah, and family purity. These mitzvot are the foundation of a Jewish home.

By lighting the Shabbat and holiday candles the woman is bringing light into the world and ushers in the Shabbat and holidays. Challah is the portion of bread that is broken off from the dough and was given to the Kohein (priest) as part of his portion. Family Purity deals with the laws of intimacy between husband and wife.

The Gemora mentions Rachel's modesty, not her self sacrifice of seeing her husband marry her sister Leah first and work another 7 years. Why? Because when Leah rebuked her for wanting the flowers, instead of answering back she was silent. Even though she had reason to be upset she silenced herself.

In the Gemora it is written that because of Rachel's modesty she was awarded a son called Yosef. Who was Yosef (Joseph)? He was the one the Egyptians relied on to provide food for them and the world during the famine. Due to Yosef's (Joseph's) upbringing he was able to overcome the advances of Potifar's wife.

Women have additional trait of understanding, an intuition of how to handle situations and how do act and react to various scenarios. They know what is important and impart that knowledge to their children. Therefore, they are called Akeret Habayit (the foundation of the home).

Individuals are differentiated by their physical appearance, their environment, their habits, their interests and most of all by their potential. As mothers women have to use these tools in rearing their children. Children resemble their parents but look like themselves and have their environment as an influence in growing up. Each child has different interests, strengths and hobbies, but a mother recognizes a child's potential and uses that to educate them.

So today is a celebration of the hard and continuous work a women does in raising a family. It is the mother who the child looks to for advice and counsel in molding themselves into individuals and learning how do deal with life's issues.

Wishing all Mothers worldwide a Yashe Koach (a heartfelt thanks) for the 24/7 work that is building our future of Am Yisrael (the nation of Israel)!!!

Mama Rochel cries for her children to be returned to Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel) and their connection with Hashem. May it speedily be so with the coming of Moshiach!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Rachel asks Leah for some and Leah responds 'no, is it not enough that you took my husband now you want my flowers too?' What are the lessons we learn from these stories?"

A lovely post. Thank you.

The dudaim "mandrakes" are fascinating to me, but the subject doesn't seem to be an easy one to study. Yet I find it compelling, esp. considering the later birthright transfer from the one who picked the flowers, to Yosef. It's as if there is a double blessing (or other hints of being doubly beloved) within the word itself.

I have often wondered if the flowers were forget-me-nots.

"And G-d *remembered* Rachel, and G-d listened to her, and opened her womb"

Anonymous said...

Amen.

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