Rabbi Rachel Kaplan Marks

When Ben-Oni Becomes Benjamin: Rachel’s Midrashic Monologue

D'Var Torah By: Rabbi Rachel Bearman and Rabbi Paul Kipnes

November 8, 2018
In Parashat Vayishlach, we read of the death of our matriarch, Rachel, who does not survive the birth of her second child, a boy whom she names Ben-oni. As she lay dying, the baby’s father, Jacob, renames him Benjamin (Gen. 35:16-18). The Torah does not tell us why this change is made. We imagine Rachel, in her final moments, whispering to her newborn: