Francisco Furini – “The Death of Rachel”
Saturday, December 1, 2012
Do you know any mothers who died at childbirth? There is an extraordinary sadness when this occurs. Our reading begins with the death of Rachel when Benjamin was born. There is a church between Jerusalem and Bethlehem that prides itself as being the place where Rachel is buried. As quietly as Isaac breathes his last, so are the final verses in the Bible that recount his death.
Chapter 36 gives the history of Esau and his people—only a list of names as though printed in black and white. Colors are kept for the stories of Jacob and his descendants, the Twelve Tribes of Israel, prototype of the Twelve Apostles and the New Israel, the Church. Esau’s disobedience wrenches him from significant history; there are only names of those whose descendants would be bitter enemies to Israel.
Saturdays are dedicated to the Sabbath Torah portions
read in synagogues throughout the world.
This plan follows those traditions that take a third of the portion
over a three year cycle, this year, the second part.
For more about the Torah portions and thoughtful commentaries, visit
The Jewish Theological Seminary.
The Firestarters and readings are posted in the timezone UTC+12, so that they are available in New Zealand and other regions near the International Date Line.