Dvar Torah Parshat Vayishlach 5770 2009

In this week’s portion we read of an unsung heroine whose name only appears here and not much is said about her. Yet she was so influential that her death created such a great mourning that the place was called ALON BACHUT, “the Plateau of Mourning”. (Gen. 35,9).

Who was this person and why was she so important that her death caused such a great grief? We are told that she was Devorah, Rebecca’s nurse who raised her in Lavan’s house. Why was that so important?

We know the kind of person Lavan was and Rebecca grew up in this household and yet she turned out to be an exceptional person. Even in early age she already had that attributes that made her suitable to become Yitzchak’s wife. This we learned when Eliezer went to look for a spouse for Yitzchak and Rebecca met him at the well.

This highlights the truth that a person can have a great influence even under difficult conditions. It certainly was not easy for Devorah living under the watchful eye of Lavan to teach Rebecca moral and ethical values that went contrary to his beliefs. Yet she did and she succeeded. Her demise caused a great mourning in Yaakov’s family because they all recognized the role she played in influencing his mother and hence Yaakov and the Jewish people.

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