Fortified entrance road to Kever Rachel in Jerusalem. אֶפְרָתָה, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Fortified entrance road to Kever Rachel in Jerusalem. אֶפְרָתָה, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Weeping in Ramallah for her exiled children
Was not the first time Rachel wept.
Blistering tears ran down her ashen face,
When Laban told her of his plan,
To put her weak eyed sister in her stead.

Her father did not know of love,
At least not the love that she and Jacob knew.
So begging him to let her wed for love,
Was to no avail.
Her father was the master in her world,
And any man, save Jacob, would be too.
So in her youthful pain she ran,
Blurting out her threat to tell.
But she was caught,
Held and guarded,
Till the wedding feast was past.

Confined, she wept at the deception,
Not understanding the balances on to which Jacob had been placed.
Not knowing that deception begets deception.
And the judgment was on him
(For an ill begotten blessing),
With an ill begotten wife.)
But what did Rachel know of balances
And mothers and sons who deceive fathers and brothers.
She only knew of longing and of love,
And did not care for ways a maiden
Could not fully comprehend.

At the wedding feast, her Jacob did not know,
The heavy veil concealed a father’s strategy.
The wedding tent was dark and his beloved,
Strangely silent.
Perhaps it is her modesty, he thought,
So much to learn about his lovely wife.
Yet his partner hid her face and said it was their custom.
And so he held her, loved her,
Her loving touch became the touch of Rachel,
But the voice was the voice of Leah.
More deception in a life of deception,
In a world where deceit  meant living or dying.
Of having or not having.

It was fair.  The world was putting things in order.
Jacob, who had deceived was now deceived.
Things were even, now
To all but Rachel,
Who fell to her knees,
And wept,
Outside her sister’s wedding tent.

About Len Berman 6 Articles
Len Berman’s professional career began as an English, drama, and humanities teacher in New York City in 1961. By 1969 he was the New Jersey State Consultant in Arts and Humanities. He continued his twenty-seven years with the New Jersey State Department of Education as a Schools Program Coordinator, retiring in 1996. His career continues as an educational consultant, as a teacher of Judaica, and as a writer. He lives with his wife, Toby, in Voorhees, New Jersey. He has nine brilliant grandchildren.

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