Rachel (fl. c. 1500 BCE)

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Rachel (fl. c. 1500 bce)

Matriarch of Israel. Fourth matriarch of Israel. Flourished around 1500 bce; died in childbirth; grave near Bethlehem (called kever Rachel) is a site of pilgrimage; dau. of Laban; sister of Leah; favorite wife of Jacob and one of the four mothers of the 12 tribes of Israel; children: Joseph and Benjamin.

Throughout Jewish history, the tomb of Rachel has been a symbol and place of solace and miracles; she has become a metaphor for compassion—for motherhood.

See also Samuel H. Dresner, Rachel (Fortress, 1994); and Women in World History.