Re: Matriarhs

Hillel E. Markowitz (hem@hrb.com)
Tue, 06 May 1997 22:52:46 -0400 (EDT)

Marian Stefaniu asked:
> Almost in every reference I saw about matriarchs, only 4 of them are
> mentioned. Yet, the 12 sons of Israel come from 4 mothers, which could lead
> us to believe that, in fairness, we should recognize all 6 matriarchs. Why
> don't we do that ?

The "other two" mothers (Bilhah and Zilpah) were the servants of Rachel
and Leah. They married Yaakov Avinu only in order to have their children
"credited" to their mistresses. This is similar to Sarah arranging for
Hagar to marry Avraham Avinu. However, in this case it worked out and all
the children merited to be Bnai Yisrael.

As a result only Rachel and Leah were considered "full" matriarchs.