Birth of Joseph
Saint Rachel prayed to God, asking to bear a son for Jacob. He already had six sons by his first wife, Leah. God answered Saint Rachel’s prayer as seen in the scripture reading:
“Then God remembered Rachel; he heard her prayer and made her fruitful. She conceived and bore a son, and she said, “God has removed my disgrace.” So she named him Joseph, meaning, “May the LORD add another son to this one for me!” - Genesis 29:28-30.23
Rachel died giving birth to Benjamin. She became the mother of two of Jacob’s twelve sons who would become the twelve tribes of Israel. The feast of St. Rachel is celebrated on November 1.
The Tomb of Saint Rachel
Saint Rachel’s tomb has great religious significance for Jewish people, Muslims, and Christians. The tomb is situated between Jerusalem and Bethlehem. After Saint Rachel died, her husband “Jacob set a pillar upon her grave.” (Genesis 35:19)
The Jewish people consider Saint Rachel’s tomb one of their most sacred sites. Many Jewish women who are sterile make pilgrimages to Saint Rachel’s tomb in the hopes that she will intercede for them and help them become pregnant.
In Jewish culture, it is believed that Saint Rachel weeps for her children both past and present. Her tears are known as Rachel’s Lament. When the Jews were sent into exile, she cried as they passed her grave.