In this week’s parsha, Yitzchok and Rivkah turned to Hashem to beg Him for children. The verse (Bereishis 25:21) uses an interesting phrase and states that Yitzchok davened “opposite his wife.” Rashbam and Seforno state that this means that Yitzchok davenedfor his wife (see Rashi for an alternate explanation). What is interesting to note is why Yitzchok didn’t daven for himself, why is it that he specifically begged Hashem for Rivkah to have children? Additionally, Chazal state that even though both Rivkah and Yitzchok were davening here, it was Yitzchok’s prayer that was answered and allowed Rivkah to conceive. What was so special about his tefillah here?
Yitzchok is teaching us the beautiful trait of thinking about the needs of one’s wife before thinking about one’s own desires. Yitzchok and Rivkah were both in pain from being childless. Yitzchok turned to Hashem and beseeched Him to have mercy on his wife. His focus of care and devotion was something that penetrated the heavens and brought a Yaakov Aveinu into the world.
Chazal (Pirkei D’Rebbe Eliezer 32) state that Yitzchok took Rivkah to Mount Moriah, the place of the future Beis HaMikdash and showed her the spot on which he stretched out his neck to give himself over to Hashem at the Akeida. Yitzchok davened that in that merit they should be blessed with children. What is fascinating to note is that Yitzchok was 37 at the time of the Akeida and he married Rivkah three years later when he was 40 and she was 3 years old. It appears from the verses (see Rashi Bereishis 22:20) that Rivkah was born specifically at the same time that Yitzchok dedicated himself wholly to Hashem on that mountain.
Indeed Rabbi Shimon Schwab zt”l explains that it was at that time that Sarah died and a part of her neshama went into Rivkah who was just being born and who would be the next Matriarch of the Jewish Nation. Yitzchok and Rivkah were eternally tied and meant for each other. Their souls were bound and their lives connected, but they would not be blessed with children until they had the greatest merit. It was only when Yitzchok turned his focus on his wife’s needs and feelings and davened to Hashem to take care of her, then they were answered. When we daven for other people and share our hearts with others, this has a power to be heard more eloquently in heaven.