Beit Midrash

  • Torah Portion and Tanach
  • Toldot
To dedicate this lesson

Why Where the Foremothers Barren?


Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed

Kislev 17 5780
In our weekly sidra we read about Yitzchak's (Isaac’s) prayer, in which he prays for his wife Rivka (Rebecca) to give birth.
This is not the first time we have seen this type of event - all of our Matriarchs were barren (which means they weren't able to have children).
The question is: Why did our forefathers have to pray for them to give birth? Our forefathers did so many good deeds through which they deserved a continuation of the lineage! why didn't their good deeds (זכויות) stand them in good stead?
And the answer that HAZAL give us, is that's God deeply desires (מתאווה) the prayers of the righteous. There is nothing he wants in this world more than their prayer.
This is something we must explain. Could it be that bad things happen to them just because Hashem wants their prayer?
The answer is that in fact, God can do everything - God does not really need any prayer. But when leaders recognize a specific need, they then connect to their inner will, what they deeply desire, and do everything in their ability to make it happen by praying.
We too have this ability. We were created in the image of God . (צלם אלוקים) just as Hashem has built this whole world by his own will – we too have the ability to change things in this world, by connecting to our inner will and praying.
As we all know God can do everything alone and he does not really need our help, but the reason he brought us all into this world is for us to change and perfect it from within. Changes from within are more powerful than changes from above.
Shabbat Shalom!
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