When I first heard of this blog, “Being Rebekah”, many images and recollections flooded my head. Who was Rebekah? Is this is metaphor for these women who wish to emulate the qualities of my second matriarch? I remembered what the rabbis taught me regarding descriptions and anecdotes from Torah, Talmud, and Midrash.
Torah tells us, in B’resheit 24, Abraham sent one of his servants back to his people to find a wife for his son, Yitzhak. An angel went ahead of the servant. He prayed for an outward sign which was given by Rebekah bat Bethuel, and the rest as they say is history. Midrash tells us Abraham prayed while the servant was traveling that the woman God would provide would have the qualities God directed him by which to live his life. Talmud tells us exactly what these are: “to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to speak kindly to the unfortunate, to act justly towards all mankind, and to be ever grateful to the Eternal”. Separately there are references to modesty but none as clearly described until given by a rabbi generations after Abraham yahrzeit. Luke 14:8-11 tells of one person who honors himself in front of others leading to humiliation and another person who humbles himself in front of everyone leading to being honored publicly.
This is my Rebekah. Everyday she performs her role at work in virtual anonymity with professionalism and to the best of her abilities. Her behind the scenes efforts on behalf of all the other employees, for whom she has genuine concern, can only be described as a ministry.
This is my Rebekah. Everyday she provides strength and encouragement to those who are lacking in one area or the other, or both. She is a living example of God’s love, understanding, and forgiveness. There are Christians, as the world uses it as a label, but she is a Christian, as the honored title given to those in Antioch.
This is my Rebekah. She puts God first, above all things, living as closely to the Gospel of Emanuel bar Yosef in obedience and submission as being human allows. Her focus is on others, in many cases to the point of self sacrifice. She puts herself last so much this effort has become a habit which has become her lifestyle. It is to the point that when anyone does something for her she has a feeling of being unworthy, has a sense of embarrassment, and is disproportionately thankful.
My Rebekah is very much the way I imagine Isaac’s wife to have been: a tremendous blessing and gift of God, a help-mate, a strength, a compliment to my weaknesses and failings, and (most of all) my encouragement to continue building a relationship with the Eternal I Am.
Yitzhak (Isaac) N.
Amen I say to you.