The little girl had been running and playing, but now tears were streaming down her chubby cheeks. She had fallen, scraped her knee and it was bleeding. At this point, you could tell that her sobbing was more from fear than from pain. Several onlookers were observing the scene and their responses were quite interesting. Why was that child playing alone? One criticized. Obviously her mother was negligent as she was a distant twelve feet away from her, demanded another. Look at how dirty she is, commented a third. Apparently she’s not had good training, look at how she’s behaving. As the comments prevail, the child continues to sob. One woman’s reaction was different from the others. Quickly she ran and lifted the child in her arms. She spoke softly and lovingly, as she kissed her gently and hugged her closely. This woman paid no attention to the onlookers or their criticism. It didn’t matter that the child’s tears mixed with dirt and blood, stained her clothes. She focused only on comforting the child in her arms. After all, this woman was the child’s mother and she was holding her baby.

Only a woman with a mothers’ heart is capable of this type of compassion. My prayer is that the heart of each Daughter of Rachel would reflect the true heart of Rachel, the mother of our Jewish heritage.

In the Jewish faith, Rachel is considered the ‘mother of all Jews’ and her story nurtures us all to this very day. Jeremiah the prophet declares: “A voice is heard on high, lamentations and bitter crying: Rachel is crying for her children…” Of all the great leaders of Israel, it was Rachel who waged war against the heavenly accusers, crying for God to have mercy on her children. Only she was capable of claiming God’s compassion.

The Midrash explains:

As the temple lay in ruins and the Jews were being led into exile as slaves, Abraham came before G-d and said: “Master of the Universe, when I was one hundred years old, You gave me a son, and when I was thirty seven years old You told me, ‘Raise him as a sacrifice before Me.’ I overcame my natural mercy and bound him myself. Will You not remember my devotion and have mercy on my children?”

G-d remained silent.

Next, Isaac approached and said: “When my father said, ‘G-d will show us the lamb for a sacrifice, my son.’ I did not hesitate, but accepted my fate and extended my neck to be slaughtered. Will You not remember my strength and have mercy on my children?”

G-d remained silent.

Then Jacob pleaded: “I worked for twenty years in the house of Laban, and when I left, Esau came to harm me. I suffered all my life raising my children. Now, they are being led like sheep to the slaughter in the hands of their enemies. Won’t You remember all my pain and suffering, and redeem my children?”

G-d remained silent.

Moses stepped forward and said: “Was I not a loyal shepherd of Israel for forty years? I ran before them in the desert like a horse. When the time came to enter Israel, You decreed that I would die in the desert. Now they go into exile. Won’t You listen to my crying over them?”

G-d remained silent.

Then Rachel lifted her voice. “Master of the Universe, You know that Jacob loved me intensely, and worked for seven years in order to marry me. When the time of my marriage came, my father substituted my sister, and I didn’t let her be shamed. I even revealed to her the secret signs that Jacob and I had arranged.” “If I, a mere mortal, was not prepared to humiliate my sister, and was willing to take a rival into my home, how could You, the Eternal, Compassionate G-d, be jealous of idols, which have no true existence, that were brought into Your home? Will You cause my children to be exiled on this account?”

Immediately, G-d’s mercy was aroused and He responded, “For You, Rachel, I will bring Israel back to their place.”

So, ultimately Rachel’s tears prevailed.

“Your work will be rewarded, and they will return from the land of the enemy. There is hope for your future. Your children will return to their borders.” (Jeremiah 31:16)
Rachel wept for her children and as intercessors, so also Daughters of Rachel, do we shed tears for our children and all of God’s children.

Tears reflecting hearts full of the love of God.

Tears that water the seeds for parched souls, praying for them to bear fruit.

“Their souls will be like a watered garden and they will sorrow no more.” (Jeremiah 31:11- 16).

Tears for children that have strayed and have fallen. Tears for the lonely and those in pain.

Tears that look past their sins, past their rebellion, immoralities, idolatries, faults or inadequacies to see children of God, deserving of His mercy and compassion.

Oh Daughters, let us determine to see beyond their iniquities to the inherent goodness and beauty of their souls. Remember that no matter how low they have fallen, they are still deserving of our prayers, offered through hearts that reflect our Lord Jesus Christ and His love, His compassion, and His mercy.

Beloved Daughters of Rachel, until we arrive at our ultimate destination, when “your work will be rewarded, and your children will return from the land of the enemy, there is hope for your future. Your children, (and all God’s children that you lift up in prayer,) will return to their own borders.”

Ladies, as always, hang on to Jesus, keep the faith, and pray daughters pray!

~Ellen Kanode