Evelyn HayesEvelyn Hayes is a poetess and author of <i>The Eleventh Plague, TWINS</I>.
Because of the many obstacles and sorrows she faced, her quiet way of confronting challenges and her showing us the way to do the same, Rachel Imeinu is remembered in people's hearts for over 3600 years.
Mother Rachel saved her elder sister Leah the humiliation of being found out when their father Laban had Leah married to Jacob instead of her, suffering in silence and not telling her betrothed, who had worked for her for seven years, about the deception - even to the point of giving Leah tips that would prevent Jacob from realizing that his veiled bride was someone other than the one he had chosen . She later married Jacob and was his beloved, but was barren, and when she finally was able to conceive, died giving birth to her second son, so that she did not even raise her longed-for children.
Rachel, who died on the way back to the Promised Land, was buried on the wayside in Bethelehem, not next to Jacob who is in the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hevron. The Jewish people have always prayed at her grave, and when exiled to Babylon, passed it and called for her to pray for their redemption. The midrash says that she showed the Almighty how she helped her sister and asked Him to forgive the slights His people caused him in the same fashion as she did. Jeremiah gives the answer in Chapter 31, as G-d tells her not to cry for her sons, because they will one day return.
Since beginning Rachel’s Children Reclamation Foundation in 1995, I have experienced success, stress and progress. Since introducing Rachel as the Jewish Mother par excellence, a role model for the whole world representing the “good ideology”, I have become wiser and broadened my presentation. From personal midos to derech eretz as a way for all Rachel’s Children, I have chosen to spread the 7 R’s for Derech Eretz from Rachel Imeinu: ROOTS, REMEMBRANCE, RECTIFICATION, RIGHTEOUSNESS, RIGHTS, RESPONSIBILITY AND REDEMPTION.
Our Jewish roots are remembered from the time of Avraham Aveinu's choosing The Creator and the path of chessed, to Yitzchak and Yaakov Avinu dealing with the Jewish birthright and do-right, to Joseph HaTzaddik dealing with brotherly hate and transformation to self affirmation and world preservation - to Moshe Rabbeinu giving the Jewish people the Torah roadmap for civilization,
It has always been Rachel Imeinu who merited establishing the return to our borders, our Torah deeded birthright, our homeland to have and to harvest.
From Creation by Hashem for creations through Mother Israel, it is gratitude and giving that keep us on the pathways of Hashem, of Torah and rectifying human error. It is with righteousness only that there can be correction.
With rights comes responsibility, with an other-centered exponent. Charity begins at home in a way that a mother knows best. Charity is an enabler. A mother cares and does not act for self satisfaction, but for the growth and perfection of her home, family and the surroundings. A mother is responsible for those she brings to the world.
In partnership with the solid roots of our past, remembering and rectifying with righteousness, we have a birthright and responsibility to The Creator for redemption. As we choose the highest ideals, we merit rights and responsibility beyond ourselves. Our giving to the world according to His roadmap will redeem.
Rachel Imeinu was active in showing us the way, using the initiative of a mother, sister, caregiver.
Let us learn from our Matriarch, remembered for 3600 years, that there is no such thing as we don’t, can’t, won’t and that there is yes, we must. We will accept only righteousness and will make the wonderful world we inherited a much better place for all, a place of actualization of truth, justice, morality, friendship, love and creation in progress for perfection.
Let the blessings be: we make it, keep it, love it, are proud of it, praise it, appreciate it and are forever thankful to Hashem and those who choose His ways.
Let our actualization of Hashem's ideals redeem the Jewish people to the highest levels of goodness with the role model of the meriting actions of Rachel Imeinu who lived her life for His mercy and blessings for all G-d’s children and showed how to raise all humankind to the highest level it can reach.
Rachel’s Children Reclamation Foundation will hold a dinner on this 18 Yahrzeit of Rachel Imeinu at MBJC, 60 West End Avenue, Brooklyn NY on October 28, 2012 at 5:30pm. Besides the list of award presentations, RCRF will be awarding students of participating schools for their essays and poems on the 7 aspects of Derech Eretz and there will be an original performance by Evelyn Hayes with music by Celia Margules. Contact RCRF for details and couvert.