In a recent blog, I wrote about the mystery of Ephraim and Manasseh, which was based upon how at each Shabbat in Judaism we bless our sons by saying, “May you be like Ephraim and Manasseh.” Almost immediately, I received messages and emails asking me if there would be a similar teaching concerning the blessing we speak over our daughters when we say the words, “May you be like Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Leah.”
So this week, I began formulating, studying, and writing a blog that would provide spiritual, prophetic insights into the words that we speak over our daughters that would be as meaningful as the blog about blessing our sons. However, everytime I started to write, my heart kept being turned to write from an entirely different perspective. Even though the perspective is different, I believe the message is just as, if not more, important.
Every Friday evening, as we gather with our families, we bless our children. Over the sons, we say, “May you be like Ephraim and Manasseh.” Over our daughters, we say, “May you be like Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, and Leah.” The truth is that, as with the blessing, “May you be like Ephraim and Manasseh,” which has many spiritual meanings and lessons we can learn from, there are also many lessons and meanings we can learn from this blessing that we pray over our daughters.
In this blog, I will be sharing only one of those lessons, but please remember there are many others. The reason I chose this particular lesson is because of the false modern belief that G-D and the Bible value men above women. This concept of a misogynist Biblical worldview doesn’t come from the pages of the Bible, but from the minds of those who have misinterpreted the Bible based upon their own desires.
I believe that one of the most important things we can teach our daughters can be imparted to them as they hear the words of this blessing each week. Let’s take a look at the matriarchs of our faith.
Sarah was Abraham’s wife. Along with Abraham, she left her home and traveled to the place that G-D would show them. She demonstrated the same level of faith if not a greater level than Abraham. However, one thing that is rarely taught about the relationship between Abraham and Sarah is that their marriage provides for us the very first example of the concept of husbands and wives submitting to one another. We read in Genesis 21:12 that G-D tells Abraham to listen to Sarah and do whatever she tells him concerning Hagar and Ishmael.
But God said to Abraham, “Do not be displeased about the boy and your slave woman. Whatever Sarah says to you, listen to her voice. For through Isaac shall your seed be called.
So, we pray that our daughters would be able to hear G-D’s voice in such a powerful way that their husbands can trust that their voice is speaking the ways of G-D. This is why in the book of Ephesians, before Paul tells wives to submit to their own husbands, Paul first reminds us of the example of Abraham and Sarah when he wrote for husbands and wives to submit to each other.
Also submit yourselves to one another out of reverence for Messiah—
After praying that our daughters will be like Sarah, we pray that our daughters will be like Rebekah, remembering that G-D’s Word teaches that women have the right to self determination. When Eleazer is sent by Abraham to find a wife for Isaac, Abraham makes it clear that the choice would be up to the women, as we see in Genesis 24:8:
8 If the woman is not willing to follow after you, then you will be free from this oath of mine. Nevertheless, you must not return my son there.”
This biblical right of self determination is further emphasised in Genesis 24:57-58:
57 So they said, “We’ll call the young woman and let’s ask her opinion.” 58 Then they called Rebekah and said to her, “Will you go with this man?” She said, “I will go.”
From the blessing of Sarah, we learn that women not only hear from G-D, but that husbands and wives should submit to one another. There are times when G-D expects husbands to not only listen to their wives, but to trust them enough to do what they say. From the blessing of Rebekah, we learn that the Bible does not teach women are simply servants of men who are subject to their whims and desires. Rather, the Bible clearly teaches that women have the right to make their own decisions and choices, especially when it comes to something as important as marriage. But, it doesn’t end there.
We continue to pray over our daughters, “May you be like Rachel and Leah.” With these words, we expand on the Biblical understanding begun with a woman’s right to determine her own choices. With these words, we remind our daughters that women/wives are not property to be bought and sold by men. When Jacob wanted to marry Rachel, Laban didn’t tell him, “If you want to marry my daughter, give me 20 camels, 10 sheep, and 12 chickens.” He didn’t say, “If you want to marry my daughter, it will cost you 30 shekels of silver.” No, when Jacob wanted to marry Rachel, Laban told him, “If you want to marry my daughter, you will have to earn her. You will have to work for her.” In Jacob’s case, he was told he would have to work for a total of 14 years in order to earn the ability to marry Rachel.
When we pray these words over our daughters, we remind them each Shabbat that they are not property to be bought and sold. We speak these words to remind them of their great value. We remind them we want them to know and understand that, like Sarah, they can not only hear from G-D, but that their voice should be heard by their husband. We remind them that we want them to know and understand that they, like Rebekah, have the Biblical right to make their own choices, especially about who they would like to marry. Lastly, we remind them that we want them to know and understand that they, like Rachel and Leah, are not property to be bought or traded. No! They must be viewed as someone who is worth great effort and hard work.
When we pray these words over our daughters, we are reminding them every week to never settle for being anything less than how G-D sees them and to never settle for a man that sees them as less than how G-D sees them.