1. The 11th of Cheshvan, the day of Rochel Imenu's yahrzeit is our Mother's Day. (in Hebrew, Mother's Day is Yom Ha'em' and the word "eim" in numerical value is 41. There are 30 days in Tishrei and then another 11 until her yahrzeit.)
2. Rochel's lifespan was the shortest of all our Patriarchs and Matriarchs. She died when she was only 36. Still, she left a deep impression on the Jewish People.
3. Rochel and her sister Leah were twins, perhaps even identical twins. That may be the reason their father Lavan was able to replace Rachel with Leah without Yaakov noticing until the morning.
4. Rochel was a shepherdess for her father. When Yaakov promised to work seven years in order to be allowed to marry her, he took her place in this difficult task and perhaps that is why he said "they seemed like but a few days because of his love for her." It is possible that all the difficulties he faced – searing heat and freezing cold, wolves and bandits, were thus made easier for him, knowing that he had saved his beloved from them and that knowledge gave him strength.
Link to Israeli songs on Rochel Imenu
Link to Hassidic songs on Rochel Imenu
5. When Rachel gave Leah the special signs she and Yaakov had agreed upon between them, she did not give up the particularity of her connection to Yaakov, but she wholly gave up the possibility of marrying him by allowing him to bring another woman into his house instead of her. She had no way of predicting that Yaakov would insist on working another seven years in order to marry her as well. Can we even imagine a young woman willing to cede her beloved to someone else on the night of her long awaited wedding?
6. Six hundred years later, Jonathan the son of King Saul (from the tribe of Rachel's son, Benjamin!!) follows in her footsteps. He does the inconceivable and gives up the crown for the sake of David (from the tribe of Leah, Judah!!) Perhaps David is hinting at this when in his elegy for Jonathan, who fell in a battle against the Philistines, he says "Your love for me was more wondrous than that of women…"
7. Despite the cruel trick he played upon her on her wedding night, despite his attempts to cheat her and her husband, when Rachel leaves her father's home she worries about him and tries to prevent his being able to worship idols by secretly removing them from the house. In the end, she pays for this with her life, as Yaakov, who knew nothing about what she had done, curses the person who took the idols and says that "whoever is found with the gods will not live."
8. When Rachel gives birth to her first son, during the moments when women suffer the hardest pains of childbirth, some even swearing they will never go through it again, she says "May G-d grant me another son" and calls her firstborn "Yoseph" – meaning, 'add another'....
9. Rachel ' s Tomb was supposed to be given to the Palestinian Authority in the Oslo Accord. At the last minute, the Prime Minister changed his mind and left it in Jewish hands. Perhaps it was MK (Aguda) Menachem Porush's words that did it. He burst into Rabin's office and weeping, cried out "Mameh Rochel ! How can you do that to her? The Jewish People will never forgive you if you abandon our Mother…" The words touched Rabin's heart and he changed the decision.
10. Only someone who herself was willing to give up everything for someone else and to pay any price to have a child of her own, can stand before the Master of the Universe and declare: "Even if they do not deserve it, even though they have sinned, they are your children and I beg of you to bring them home." And G-d answers: "Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears,.. the sons will return to their land".
Rabbi Yoni Lavi is one of the heads of the Kehalim Organization, and a popular speaker, columnist and broadcaster who wrote the (Hebrew) set of books: Hi Rabbi. He is rabbi of Congregation Young People of Hadar Ganim, Petach Tikva.
Translated by Rochel Sylvetsky