Rabbi Wein.com The Voice of Jewish History

The Great Mothers of Israel
5 Lectures

Item #: S339

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It is the #1 rule in Jewish history. Maaseh avos siman l’bonim. The deeds of our fathers set the pattern for our future. But the rule holds true for our mothers also. Journey with Rabbi Wein into the lives of our four Imahos – Sarah, Rivkah, Rochel, and Leah – and the two maidservants, Bilhah and Zilpah. Their personal struggles with marriage, fertility, and parenting carry with them eternal lessons for every Jewish man and woman.

Individual lectures:

Sarah - Like Chava, mother of all living, Sarah is the paradigm of motherhood, but achieving that was no simple matter. Rabbi Wein will thrill and chill you as he narrates her extraordinary life - from the present-day echoes of her conflict with Hagar to the inspiring verses in praise of her, the original Aishet Chayil.

Rivka - Raised in a house of trickery while meriting to marry the holy Yitzchak, Rivka is the consummate baalas teshuva. Yet precisely because of her family background, she was able to spot Eisav’s faults long before her husband. With the insights of Chazal, Rabbi Wein paints a human portrait of our dynamic foremother who took responsibility for the good and bad in her sons as only a Jewish mother can.

Leah - The most enigmatic of the Imahos, Talmudic opinion about Leah is varied and even contradictory. Were her eyes beautiful or weak? Did Yaakov really dislike her or did he just love her less than Rochel? Was the mandrake incident positive or negative? Rabbi Wein tackles these questions from all sides, weaving together a picture of the unsung heroine who became mother to more than half of the Jewish people.

Rochel - The beloved wife of Yaakov is also our most beloved mother, the one to whom we address our prayers, and the one who cries for us in the exile. But her exemplary life of selflessness was marred by personal tragedy. Rabbi Wein gives a fresh, new look at Rochel Imenu, emphasizing the very relevant lesson of choosing our words carefully.

Bilhah and Zilphah - Though Bilhah and Zilpah each mothered two tribes of Israel, sources regarding them are scarce. Rabbi Wein culls together later commentaries of such giants as the Netziv, showing how the rivalry between Leah, Rochel, and their children carried over to maidservants and how their children comforted Yaakov in his years of separation from Yosef.

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