Do you commemorate the yahrtzeit (date of passing) of a parent or grandparent, a relative or close friend? A yahrtzeit is a meaningful day when we remember the special qualities of the person who has departed.

But how many of us commemorate the yahrtzeit of a great-great-great grandparent?

This Tuesday, the 11th of Cheshvan, marks the date of the passing of our matriarch Rachel. Interestingly, of all our patriarchs and matriarchs, hers is the only date that is still noted, centuries later. I believe this is because her life personifies her ongoing historic role as the quintessential mother sacrificing for her children.

Rachel died during childbirth, giving her own life for her child. She was buried on a deserted roadside, so that her descendants could pass by her gravesite as they were exiled from their land and pour out their hearts asking her to beg G‑d for mercy.

With her boundless wellspring of love, Rachel sacrificed for her children in her life and in her death. And, G‑d promises, it is to her voice that He will ultimately listen as He redeems us from our exile.

This week, in honor of Rachel, we pay tribute to motherhood, the laughter and joy, the tears, the moments of silence, the mother’s ability to transmit Jewish identity, and her boldness and fearlessness.

Whether or not you are a biological mother, we can all “mother” someone with love and compassion, as exemplified so heroically by Mama Rochel.

Wishing you a nurturing week.

Chana Weisberg,
Editor, TJW