This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

November 1 -- Feast of Rachel the Matriarch

November 1 -- Feast of Deborah, Ruth, and Rachel
November 1 is a big feast a couple of times over.  First, it is of course All Saints Day.  But it's also a big feast for women of the Old Testament: Deborah the Prophetess, Ruth the Matriarch, and Rachel the Matriarch.  Ruth's going to have to wait until next year though; Deborah was last year and Rachel's up today.  

Rachel had it rough and only part of that was her own doing.  Her Aunt Rebecca's son Jacob was sent to live with his Uncle Laban and the rest of the family until Esau (Jacob's brother) cooled off.  He was angry about his inheritance being stolen.  Upon arriving at Laban's farm, Jacob rushed up and kissed his cousin Rebecca and then introduced himself.  She took him to see her father, who welcomed him, agreed that he could live and work with them, and offered to negotiate wages.  Jacob asked for Rachel -- the price of seven years labor was agreed.

Kissing Cousins -- Jacob and Rachel
After seven years, Jacob was surprised to find that he spent his wedding night with Leah, rather than Rachel.  He couldn't tell in the dark, I guess, and Leah was too eager to get hitched to mention it.  But Jacob was in love with Rachel, so he worked another seven years to get her too.  Leah was popping out sons all the while, which must have been hard on Rachel, but she waited and eventually got her man.  They were tremendously happy together, which frustrated Leah, so the Lord made conception for Rachel.  Only after Jacob had accepted two concubines from his rival wives and conceived with them did she finally have a kid.

Eventually, Jacob spirited his growing family (and flocks) away from his father-in-law, who was plainly not a square dealer.  As they were hastily packing, Rachel swiped the household gods (What? Idolatry? Second Commandment?) and kept them in the seat cushion on her camel.  Laban of course pursued, accused Jacob of god-theft, and searched the caravan.  Rachel cleverly didn't move; her reason was that one that always makes men give ground -- time of the month.  Unfortunately, Jacob, unaware that the gods actually had been swiped, made a big show of innocence for his father-in-law by laying a curse on anyone who had them.  Oops.  Rachel died not long after, giving birth to her second son, Benjamin. 

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