A WOMAN OF VALOR
Thus saith the Lord; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not. Jeremiah 31:15
All the Patriarchs and Matriarchs are buried in the cave of Machpelah in Hebron, except one: Rachael. Her husband Jacob buried her on the road near Bethlehem because he foresaw in the future that when the Jewish people were exiled from their homeland, they would need her. Here’s why.
You will read in the Jewish writings about the debate that took place up in heaven. As the jews were being exiled from their land, all of the holiest souls tried to intercede before God on their behalf.
Abraham spoke first: “I overcame my nature and was prepared to sacrifice my only son. Won’t you remember my devotion and have mercy on my children?” Then Isaac tried: “When I realized that my father had been commanded to slaughter me, I faithfully accepted my fate. Won’t you remember my strength and have mercy on my children?”
Next, Jacob: “I suffered so much in my lifetime. I had to work for Laban, escape from Esau, and I suffered so much raising my children. Now that they are being led to the slaughter. Won’t you remember my pain and redeem them?”
Then Moses stated his case: “Wasn’t I a loyal shepherd for Israel all the years in the desert? I didn’t even get to enter the Holy Land, but brought them dutifully to the entrance. And now they go into exile — Won’t you listen to my cry?”
Finally, Mother Rachel came before God: “Master of the Universe and the Great Architect, you know that Jacob loved me most and worked for my father for seven years in order to marry me. When the time of my marriage came, my father switched my sister for me and I didn’t begrudge my sister and I didn’t let her be shamed. I had compassion for my sister: won’t you have mercy on my children?”
Immediately, God’s mercy was awakened and He said: “For you, Rachel, I will bring Israel back, and it says: ‘Thus saith the Lord; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the Lord; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy.17 And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord, that thy children shall come again to their own border.'” Jeremiah 31:16-17
For all the holy souls that tried to save the Jewish people, only Rachel’s plea was answered. Why? Because of her unselfish, unwavering compassion for another human being. The message is clear: When we treat others with tremendous compassion, God will treat us with nothing less.