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Why Is Rachel’s Story So Important?

Tisha B’Av And The Story of Rachel's Tears

Rabbi David Fohrman
Rabbi David Fohrman


On Tisha B'Av it is customary to read the book of Lamentations (or Eicha). And unsurprisingly, the book of Lamentations is an appropriate read, as it is on this day we’re supposed to mourn and cry. But is mourning and crying really enough?

Mourning and crying are what you do as an instinctive reaction to loss but does it change anything about the loss itself? Another way to ask this question – what does effective mourning look like? On Tisha B'av, we’re not just crying for the sake of tears. How are we supposed to mourn in a way that will be meaningful and productive? What does it mean to truly open up and cry before God? And is there a model in Lamentations for it?

Join Rabbi Fohrman as he explores this pivotal question by re-examining the story of Rachel – the mother of our people – referred to in the Book of Lamentations. The vision of Rachel weeping on high in the realms of heaven may offer a new understanding of mourning – and a whole new way to think about Tisha B’Av. What was it about Rachel and her tears that made such an impact? Revisit the bitter struggle of Rachel and you’ll gain an entirely new perspective on relationships, empathy, and the power of mourning.