Rachel and Channah

This topic has not yet undergone editorial review


The Book of Shemuel is replete with parallels to the Book of Bereshit.  One of the most blatant of these is the parallel between the story of Channah and Elkanah and the story of Rachel and Yaakov. At first glance, the two plots seem nearly identical: a man (Yaakov / Elkanah) marries two wives, one of whom (Leah / Peninah) is fertile, while the other (Rachel / Channah) is barren. This leads to conflict between the wives, until Hashem remembers the barren wife and gives her children. However, as seen below, these superficial similarities mask some significant differences between the characters of the two narratives.

Content Parallels

Literary Allusions


Points of Contrast


While the general plot line in the two stories is quite similar, the depiction of the characters is rather different. These contrasts allow us to find deeper nuances in the behavior and motivations of the characters: