Monday, May 23, 2016

Omer 2016 Day 31: Deborah, Rebecca's nurse

Day 31: Tiferet in Hod, Balance in Glory

Deborah, Rebecca's nurse, is first mentioned as departing with Rebecca on her journey to meet and marry Isaac (Genesis 24:59). According to the WRJ's Women's Commentary Torah, the fact that her nurse had remained with the family after Rebecca had grown up suggests that she may have been like a surrogate mother to Rebecca or, at least, that the two shared a special bond. We learn of Deborah's death over ten chapters after her first appearance with the simple line: 
"And Deborah, Rebecca's nurse, died and was buried below Beth El under the Oak, so he [Jacob] named it the Oak of Weeping." (Genesis 35:8)
Deborah's death is remarkable for many reasons, the first and most often-cited of which is that her death was mentioned at all, while Rebecca's death was never stated. This line about Deborah's death comes between the rape of Dinah and God blessing Jacob with the name Israel, followed shortly thereafter by Rachel's death and then Isaac's. So Deborah, who began her story as a nurse responsible for maintaining life, was the first in a series of devastating deaths in Jacob's family. The blessing that Jacob received from God was book-ended by death, a reminder that there is balance in glory.