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Curtains Up for 10 Biblical Women!

Published on Wednesday March 25th, 2020

Our history abounds with fascinating, strong and courageous feminine characters. Some of them are not sufficiently honored and yet their story and journey represent an endless source of inspiration for all of us.

The woman is the pillar of her household, the crown of her husband. Several righteous women nowadays, just like their counterparts throughout history, act in silence, discreetly, without even realizing their tremendous value.

For a short moment, let’s raise the curtains and discover pious women, whose story will reinforce us and inspire us, with G-d’s help.

1.Chava (Eve)

“The mother of all beings”. This is what Chava’s name means. This is what this figure embodies. While a man is generally occupied to conquer higher dimensions, he learns, prays three times a day in a holy place accompanied by a Minyan. He has the duty to say words of Torah at the table… the woman, on the other hand, sanctifies her daily life, through actions which may seem futile. Chava tasted from the fruit because she wanted to connect to the earth and its wonders, she didn’t seek to look like an angel, she wanted to taste life’s pleasures. The woman is naturally attracted to beauty, the good, a nicely decorated table, a little girl with nice hair, a  scented room. Hashem loves this beauty which inhabits the woman, He created her that way, and this is how she will bring down the Shechina in her couple, by putting her taste and essence towards divine service.

2. Sarah

Our first matriarch teaches us another kind of greatness, that of repairing, of cleansing. Sarah was the one who repaired Chava’s sin, by exposing herself once again to the danger that the serpent represents, but this time, by overcoming him. Sarah heals and purifies souls, she was a pillar for Avraham and their relationship was filled with trust. Hashem told Avraham Avinu:  “Whatever Sarah says, listen to her”. We can draw a great lesson from this couple: that it is pointless to want to do better than our spouse (Avraham knew that he couldn’t fight the snake himself), one must be aware of our spouse’s strength and qualities and encourage him or her to surpass himself, even if it means to remain hidden. The couple will only be strengthened by doing so.

3. Rivka

Rivka had the merit to marry Yitzchak Avinu, and Yaakov Avinu, Israel, our Nation, was born from this union. Rivka symbolizes Chesed: “I will give you to drink, as well as your camels”. We find this midda of a charitable soul in our people, it is one of their fundamental qualities. Yet, Rivka accomplished this Chesed with a special touch. She did it with eagerness and joy. She didn’t wait to be asked for help to accept it; she offered it herself. She knew that this task would require tremendous physical effort, but it didn’t matter to her, she wanted to do this good deed with all her soul.

4. Rachel and Lea

It is impossible to talk about Rachel without mentioning Lea as well, and vice versa. As we already know, these two sisters married the same man and, throughout their journey, no competition, jealousy or bad intentions were present towards one another. On the contrary, they are the perfect instance of selflessness and self-sacrifice. Rachel took the risk to lose the merit of marrying Yaakov by giving the signs to Lea before going under the Chuppa, and the latter prayed that her seventh child is a daughter as to avoid that her younger sister is humiliated for having fewer children than the servants. Rachel also teaches us the power of prayer. She preferred to be buried alone on the road, to dedicate herself and pray on an ongoing basis for the arrival of Mashiach.

5. Serach

Serach was Asher’s daughter, Yaakov’s granddaughter. She was chosen to tell her grandfather with softness and tact that his son Yosef was still alive. Serach represents the spark of hope. When life seems unbearable, when the battles seem lost from the get-go, when the tears are missing to cry, the only thing that can save us from this well of sadness is hope. The hope that things will get better, the hope that tomorrow will be a better day. What a gift that hope exists. Serach was blessed by Yaakov to live a long life. In fact, she is amongst the few tzaddikim to have merited to directly reach Gan Eden alive. Look at that! The spark of hope never fades, it always lives.

6. Myriam

Myriam exhibited a great maturity while she was only a child. She opposed her father’s decision, and most rightfully so, which suggested to all the Bnei Israel to separate themselves from their wives as to stop giving new babies to Pharaoh to kill. Myriam highlighted to her father that his decision was even crueler than Pharaoh. The latter condemned the baby boys, while Amram’s also condemned the girls.  Moses, the people’s savior, was born thanks to Myriam’s courage, reasoning, and devotion. The latter watched over him while her mother Yocheved left him on the Nile in a basket. She didn’t fail to do her job, she was her brother’s keeper. Without any doubt, Myriam played a crucial role in ending the Bnei Israel’s enslavement.

7. Deborah

Deborah is the paroxysm of modesty and wisdom. Indeed, her advice was priceless. People came from far away to take advantage of her good recommendations. And yet, she received them under a palm tree, in the shade, in all modesty. She tried all with righteousness without being fooled by any type of corruption, without never breaking under pressure.  Many institutions for women also took the name of Tomer Deborah, for this judge symbolized perfectly the values that these institutions praise: spirituality, faith, and modesty.

8. Ruth

Ruth abandoned comfort, easy life and security and followed her mother-in-law Naomi to a world which was completely unknown to her. Ruth accepted every struggle with love and faith. She lost her husband, underwent famine and poverty, exchanged her royal life to life on a straw bed. But no one could convince her to do otherwise. Her dedication gave her the merit to be the ancestor of the final Redeemer. Ruth is a role model for all the lost souls trying to find their way. She conveys the beautiful and pure message: “Follow your heart”.

9. Batsheva

Batsheva was a magnificent woman whose beauty subdued David. Their union, not so accepted by the people, raised controversies and scandals. Batsheva did not rebel in any way. While she had a strong character, she was subdued to the King’s decision. Hashem, on his end, blessing this union since Batsheva gave birth to Shlomo, the King of Israel, that Hashem chose to build His Temple.

10. Esther

Esther, the queen of mystery. She acts with a mask. No one really knows who she is, and what she does. She becomes the queen of an entire country and even the king is unaware of her true identity. She is fearless, even of death, she risks her life on several instances to save her people. She acts behind the scenes and at the last second, the curtain is raised and everything becomes obvious for all. The scary darkness then becomes a shining light.

May Hashem allow us to follow their steps and carry on our Matriarchs’ strength and courage.

The Torah-Box Team - © Torah-Box

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