When we list the Matriarchs in prayers (such as the Amidah in the version including the matriarchs, or in the traditional blessing for one's daughters on Friday night), we say them in the order: Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Leah. Why is this? The patriarchs are generally listed in order of age, which seems like a natural order of precedence; and similarly, apart from Leah the matriarchs are listed in order of age.

  • 3
    +1 We have this order of the matriarchs already in the Talmud (eg Horayot 10b) and the patriarchs already in verses in the Bible (eg. Genesis 50:24)
    – Double AA
    Nov 27, 2012 at 19:38
  • @DoubleAA isn't that the (or at least an) answer, then?
    – yoel
    Nov 27, 2012 at 19:52
  • 4
    @yoel, partly, but it just moves the "why" point earlier -- why did they do it that way, if that's the pattern? Nov 27, 2012 at 20:00
  • It rolls off the tongue more easily that way, since Sarah, Rivka, and Rahel, all have an R, while Leah does not.
    – mevaqesh
    Nov 8, 2017 at 19:59

2 Answers 2


Likutei Dinim Toras haKohanim Siman 75 says that since Rachel was the one Yaakov had in mind to marry first therefore Rachel is listed first.

  • 2
    What is the relation between intent to marry and listing that this should be relevant?
    – Double AA
    Apr 8, 2014 at 17:44
  • 10 year old answer, but I’m interested in the answer to @DoubleAA’s question. Any insight?
    – AAM111
    Jun 5, 2023 at 23:51

Rachel was certainly Yaakov's primary wife; the text indicates that his primary residence was with her and only changed once she passed away. She was the one he desired and labored for and set his focus upon. Although Leah bore him more children than any of the other women, it's clear that he loved Rachel more.

From a more kabbalistic perspective, Rachel represents the natural, revealed world, whereas Leah represents the hidden, deeper dimension of reality. We give precedence to the revealed before the hidden, generally speaking.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .