matriarchs (MAY-tree-arks) listen


Example Sentences

  • "I want to know, plainly, from a historical or social standpoint, why the handmaidens aren't counted among the matriarchs too." (source)

Languages of Origin

  • English

Who Uses This

  • Religious: Jews who are engaged in religious observance and have some Jewish education


  • North America


  • The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words, by Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, (Philadelphia, 2001).


  • See also patriarchs.

    "Sarah, wife of Abraham, is remembered for her infertility. Because she couldn’t bear children, Abraham first had a child, Ishmael, with Sarah’s handmaiden, Hagar. Sarah was 90 years old when God told her that she would finally give birth to a son, Isaac. Rebecca, wife of Isaac, is recalled for her kindness. Rachel and Leah were both married to Jacob. Jacob was tricked into marrying Leah. The Torah mentions that she suffered as an unloved wife. Jacob later wed her sister, Rachel, whom he truly loved. The names of the matriarchs are sometimes included in prayers in an effort to make liturgy more egalitarian. The matriarchs’ names are also included in a blessing said at a naming for baby girls, a wish that they 'grow up to be like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah.' On Sukkot, the names of the patriarchs and matriarchs are invoked in the custom of ushpizin. Today, the names of the matriarchs are still popular names for Jewish girls." (JPS)

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