Rachel: Our Matriarch of Compassion

Black and white drawing of a woman and man hugging.

Rachel, always mentioned as the third matriarch of Israel, had much in common with her predecessors, Sarah and Rebekah. Like Sarah and Rebekah, Rachel was known for her beauty. Like Sarah and Rebekah, she had captured her husband’s heart. And like Sarah and Rebekah, Rachel suffered the pain of being childless through much of her marriage.

But it is through her death that Rachel, quite literally, stands apart. Rachel was the only one of the matriarchs and patriarchs not to have been buried in the Cave of Machpelah. Instead, Rachel was buried alongside the road near Bethlehem, where she died while giving birth to her second son. Discover the significance of Rachel’s final resting place and of her defining characteristic — great compassion — as we continue our study of Israel’s four great matriarchs in this month’s Limmud.

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