Full of Days but not Fulfilled Any More
After the sad story of Dinah, we witness the death of Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, who was buried under an oak of tears. She is followed by Rachel, the beloved wife of Jacob, who died in giving birth to her second child. And as she was dying, she called his name Ben-oni [son of my sorrow but his father called him Benjamin [son of prosperity]. Jacob continues to move, a pilgrim and an exile, through the promised land. And so, still as a traveller, he buries Rachel in Bethlehem, the ‘house of bread’, along the road that was bringing him back to the land of his father Isaac. On the grave, once again, he erected a pillar, to mark his wife’s life and that land forever. Women still beget us through labour, and for all the progress medicine has made, childbirth remains a crucial moment in the lives of mothers, which gives them a unique value and dignity in the universe. But there are still too many women dying in giving birth, even in the most technologically advanced countries.