Shalom, dear children!
Did you enjoy a nice summer? In Jerusalem it is still very warm, and we hope and pray for rain since the seventh day of Sucot (the Feast of Tabernacles). Especially when you miss something or somebody, you realize what that person or that thing means to you. Like we are waiting for rain, Hannah, Rachel and Sarah have waited for a child. Sometimes babies come easily, but these three women were sad, because they did not seem to come… Finally, however, they got children.
First of all, we take a look at Sarah. She is one of our four matriarchs. G-d had promised to Abraham, Sarah’s husband, that He would make him “a great nation” (Beresheet/Genesis 12:2). In Beresheet 16:1 we read that Sarah still does not have children. G-d had promised, so it would happen. Sarah decided to give her husband a concubine. Then she would have a child after all. That child was Ishmael. It was just hard to believe that this ninety year old woman would still get a child, even though it was G-d’s plan. When Sarah heard that she would get a son of her own, she laughed. Because of this laughing, she called her son Yitschak, ‘he shall laugh’.
Second of all, we take a look at Rachel. She was the wife of Jakob, one of the matriarchs and Lea’s sister. By means of a trick played by Laban, Rachel’s father, both sisters were married to Jakob. Jakob did love Rachel more, but Lea was the one who got children. Rachel got jealous of her sister (Beresheet 30:1). Both women gave a concubine to Jakob. Getting the most children became a contest. That’s how important it was to them! Finally Rachel got two sons of her own: Joseph and Benjamin. After Benjamin’s birth, Rachel died. What a pain must Lea have had that Jakob loved Rachel more. Also, Rachel’s pain must have been great, because it took her so long to get children of her own.
Finally, we take a look at Hannah. She was the wife of Elkana. Like Jakob, Elkana had two wives: Pnina and Hannah. Pnina had children, but Hannah did not (1 Samuel 1:2). This gave the women a lot of struggle, and Pnina made Hanna miserable. Every year this family went to the Temple. One day Hannah made G-d a promise in the Temple: “If You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maids a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head” (verse 11). G-d gave Hannah a son about a year later. She called him Samuel, which means ‘G-d hears’. Samuel served in the Temple.
Sarah is the mother of the first miracle birth: through Abraham and her, Israel was born. Rachel was barren, as was Hannah. G-d heard their prayers and gave both of them a son. These three women had a great trust in G-d. He gave them that which normally would have been impossible: miracle births and important men for Israel’s future! Do you have an important request for G-d, like these women? Think if it is something with which you can praise Him.
Text to remember: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:15).