02 Dec Rabbi Hillel Skolnik’s Torah Spark for Parashat Toldot 5777
This Shabbat we read from Parashat Toldot in which Rivka is finally able to give birth after having been barren for the first twenty years of her marriage to Yitzchak. But before she is able to conceive, Yitzchak prays to God on her behalf and it seems that only then is Rivka able to have children. Over the years of our long and storied history, this story might have been taken to mean that it is important solely for a husband to pray on behalf of his wife but as a rabbi in the 21st century, to me it means something much more significant. It is not only that a husband must pray for his wife but that each partner in a relationship must pray for a resolution to that with which their partner struggles. It is not simply enough for a husband to pray for his wife, but a wife must pray for her husband, and when the marriage calls for it a wife must pray for her wife and a husband must pray for his husband. What it means is that we are never alone in our struggles with what ails us. Having someone there not only to support us but to pray right along with us is from where we derive our strength.
Rabbi Hillel Skolnik