Posts Tagged ‘Rivka’

The foremothers, or the four mothers

Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah – What do all these names have in common? They are the anglicized versions of the Hebrew names of the biblical foremothers, the female equivalents to the biblical forefathers. Many secular sounding English names come from the bible, the Jewish Torah, and originate from the Hebrew text. Each of these names is based around a שרש, or “root,” that has an original, Hebrew meaning. If you learn Hebrew, you’ll realize how many names come from Hebrew and you’ll know what they mean.The name Sarah comes from the original Hebrew שרה, or Sara. The root of the name Sara is “sar,” which means princely. Sara, Abraham’s wife, had a royal bearing and was fit to be a princess and the matriarch of a noble family. Incidentally, she has a second name, יסכה, which is the Hebrew form of Jessica. The root of this name mean to gaze, which was suitable to Sarah since she gazed with prophetic visions, and the masses gazed at her majestic beauty.The name Rebecca comes from the Hebrew form רבקה, or Rivka, which actually refers to a calf. This is to signify Rivka’s wholesome innocence. She was brought to marry Isaac at a tender age and is known for her sincere and innocent kindness. The root of Rivka also means to tie or bind.Rachel comes from the Hebrew form רחל, which is spelled the same as Rachel. It means sheep, and it refers to Rachel’s purity. She selflessly let her sister marry Jacob before her. Leah comes from the Hebrew לאה, also spelled the same as Leah. It means tiredness, because she often looked tired from crying about her fate to marry Esau.


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