Rachel Imeinu - Dates and Facts
Born: 1514 BCE.
Died: 1552 BCE.
Rachel was one of the wives of Yaacov (Jacob) Avinu, sister of Leah Imeinu.
Rachel was the mother of Yosef HaTzaddik and Binaymin HaTzaddik. She died in Israel while giving birth to Binyamin.
Rachel was one of the first prophetesses (Yerushalmi Berachos 9:3).
Rachel was known for her beauty (Bereishis Rabbah 70:16).
In reward for her modesty in giving Leah her signal and not revealing to anyone that she had done so (Rashi), she merited that King Shaul descend from her (Megillah 13b).
Yosef's beauty resembled Rachel's (Zohar 1:116b).
Rachel and Leah were twins. (Seder Olam Rabbah 74:4).
Why did Rachel die first?
Because of the curse of Yaacov who said, "With whomever you find your gods (teraphim stolen that belonged to her father Lavan), shall not live" (Gen. 31:22).
Because she spoke before her older sister, as it is written, Rachel replied and then Leah (Gen. 31:14) (Bereishit Rabbah 74:4).
Because Yaacov delayed in fulfilling the vow he had made before God (in Gen. 28:20-22), the power of Yaacov's accuser was strengthened. Therefore, Rachel went into labor and had difficulty in her childbirth (ibid. 35:16) (Zohar 1:175a).
She died at the age of 36 (Seder Olam Rabbah 2, Gra).
Rachel died and was buried (Genesis 35:19).
The burial took place immediately after death out of respect for her (Bereishit Rabbah 82:9).
Rachel said, "Therefore, he shall be with you tonight" (Gen. 30:15). Because she had made light of being together with the righteous Yaacov, she was not buried with him (Bereishit Rabbah 72:3).
As a girl, Leah would go out every day to the crossroads and weep and pray that she should merit to marry Yaakov, whom she had heard was righteous (and not Esav, who was evil), whereas Rachel never went out on the road. Therefore, Leah merited to be buried with Yaacov, whereas Rachel's tomb stands at the crossroads (Zohar 1:223a).
Yaacov set up a monument over her grave (Gen. 35:20). Each of the sons placed a stone on Rachel's grave, so that twelve stones were piled one atop of the other, and Yaacov's stone was set on top of them all (Lekach Tov, Bereishit 35:20).
The place of her burial will not disappear until the day the Holy One, Blessed is He, resurrects the dead (Zohar 1:175a).
Foreseeing that the jews on the way to exile would pass by the site, the Patriarch Yaacov buried her on the road on the way to Ephrath and not within the city so that she would sense their anguish and pray for them (Bereishit Rabbah 82:10).
She was buried in Beit Lechem, where her grave site has been visited by many Jews for the last thousands of years.
May the merit of the tzaddeket Rachel Imeinu protect us all, Amen.
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