Fertile mountain slopes of Binyamin
A woman’s voice crying, immortal
The echo of her sobs between the hills,
She weeps, inconsolable.

Her tears quench the soil her children once tilled
Along the border, their voices now stilled,
Her voice rises highest.

When fire swept up from Jerusalem,
The people dragged out, chained and dying,
The forefathers and Moshe pleaded and cried,
“Let our children live, for Your name we sanctified.”

G‑d, crying too, silenced each one,
Then Rachel jumped before Him, her long silence done,
To tell her story for the first time.

She told of her love for her cousin Jacob
Whom she knew always was destined for her
She told how her sister, a web of tears wove
‘Til her own fate, her prayers deterred.

Seven years he worked for her
In his great love, they were joyous days.
“Twelve sons we’ll have,” he said to her
“The world’s twelve pillars you and I will raise.”

She counted down; years, months, then weeks
Though she guessed her father’s devious plan.
He wouldn’t give Jacob the daughter he seeks,
“The younger before the eldest, I can give to no man.”

Rachel told of her anguish at such a thought:
Would the long years, and yearnings, all come to naught?
In whispers to Jacob, I asked for a sign,
He taught me three that were to be mine.

I sat in the canopy on my wedding night,
Laban pushed in Leah, bedecked as the bride.
Filling with mercy for my dear sister’s plight,
I shoved my own burning desires aside.

I taught the things in which Sarah excelled;
How Rebecca, too, brought the Shechina to dwell.
Of Shabbat candles, Challah, ritual purity,
I instructed in rushed, quiet tones.

Leah learned the laws before our father came
To drag me, the true bride, away.
She would never know that to save her from shame
Our secret sign I had just betrayed.

Their room was dark, ‘twas a moonless night,
Jacob called Leah, “Rachel, Rachel,”
But I was there, hidden from sight.
I answered, so her voice he wouldn’t tell.

I cringed as I tricked him, my betrothed, my love,
I knew the extent of my deed.
In loving acceptance known only above,
I kept silent, but I now intercede.

If this is the compassion a human can feel,
No envy for what I thought was my own,
To Your infinite mercy, G‑d, I appeal,
Have no envy for their idols of stone.

“For you, Rachel, for your motherly tears,
And the compassion I have for your sons,
I will bring them back after many long years.
Cry no more for your cherished ones.”