Wise Rachel in Us? Omer 21

Wise Rachel in Us? Omer 21
Abstract image of a human head with ripples flowing around it, illustrating a post about the impact that the wisdom of Biblical Rachel has on her husband Jacob.

Malchut she’b’Tiferet. Presence in Beauty.

I’d like to talk about Presence. But with a few conceptual details along the way. And a little story about the Biblical character Rachel.

Sefirot, we know, are spiritual qualities. Shapes and styles of Divine expression. And of human psychology.  

If the Sefirot underlie everything, then where are they in the Torah? Everywhere, says the Zohar. Because the entire Torah is an allegory for the life of the Sefirot.

But, to see that, you need a few tools. Some details of the code the Torah uses. For example, which characters represent each Sefirah.

Stories about Jacob teach us about Tiferet, beauty or balance. Why? His grandfather, Abraham, receives chesed, love and kindness. And his father, Isaac, traumatized as a youth, receives gevurah, judgment. So, Jacob has a bit of each in him. He has to find his own path of tiferet, balance and beauty.

And stories about Rachel teach us about Malchut, royalty, also known as Shechinah, maternal presence of God. Why? Because the prophet Jeremiah names her as the main mother of the Jewish people. And midrash says she pleads with God to return her children from exile.

The Torah tells us that there is a bit of Rachel inside of Jacob. Or, rather, that Jacob is touched by Rachel’s wisdom. And, somehow, he absorbs it.

Rachel is at odds with her sister. But, eventually, she lets go of the conflict. She says, “I have wrestled with my sister, with holy wrestling, and I have won.”

A few years pass.

Jacob is estranged from his brother. But his brother seeks him out. And just before they meet, Jacob wrestles with a mysterious stranger. Then the stranger says, “You have wrestled with God and humans, and you have won.”

Torah is quite clear, in its understated way. Rachel does her inner work, and makes peace with her sibling. Jacob watches her. And, as best he can, tries to do what she does. He absorbs her wisdom. And thus, heals a rift inside his heart.

Here, it’s easy to think of Rachel as Shechinah. A kind of divine mother. She has wisdom, and she is a role model. Does she know she’s Jacob’s teacher, or is she just living her best life?

It’s a heavy responsibility, to know you’re a teacher and a role model. And that others treat you as one. Especially when you’re barely holding it together yourself. Then, you’re sure they’re seeing a projection, some mother archetype. But they’re not seeing the real you.

Still, you don’t want to fail them. You want to be the wise presence they need.

Did I say “you”? I mean “me.”

Today is Day 21 of the Omer, three weeks.

New to the Omer count? Here’s a primer.

  1. Beautiful post, beautiful teachings, beautiful you, Laura! I want to contribute a teaching from a wise healer who once taught me what her teacher taught her. I am paraphrasing but it goes something like this “When you work with someone who is ill, see them in clear gold light. It will help them to be seen in such a way. It will help healing to happen. It will help you too to be with them.” So healing will be created in the space between the two – so too perhaps between Rachel and Jacob and perhaps too then Leah and perhaps too the children come after them and so it can go on and on and on. Shechinah dwells there and comes to earth.
    With thanks and blessings, D

    1. Thank you, Dael, for these beautiful teachings!

  2. Women of The Covenant. s impurity rages against our souls, please practice the laws of purity. We are the Light of the world. Study to show yourselves approved. I am encouraging my husband towards laws of faciel hair. I ask why do we even question? Ignore? Resist? Please!!! We have damaged the Sefirot by our vanities and ignorance. If we break one mitzvot, we affect all. And I mean ALL! THE MITZVOT are not grievious, and bring Shalom. Let us lead this world to purity.

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