Parshat Chayei Sara: Shidduch Resumes


I’ve heard it said a number of times that were Yitzchak and Rivkah alive today, there is no way they’d get married.

One can only imagine the report Avraham, “the gadol hador,” would receive from his servant, the shadchan (matchmaker), after he interviewed Rivkah for the first time. “Family: Unrepentant idolators (father tried to kill me during our meeting), incorrigible brother; Girl: Very confident, thinks for herself, knows what she wants, a little on the young side.”

For Yitzchak, it might read something like this: “Family: Mother dead, Father very old. Very G-d-fearing. Boy: 40 years old, still lives at home (possibly lives in the Negev), not very talkative, no real-world experience except for the time his father almost offered him as a sacrifice.”

Rivkah resembled the very confident women I sometimes read about, who are so intimidating in their self-awareness that they never marry. Some women like this were married before they became what they are – following the advice of my grandmother who believes people should get married younger, before they become too smart for themselves.

To be fair, I know of a few successful, professional, “frum” women who were unable to find spouses (not that they didn’t try), who opted to have a child through IVF in their mid to late 30s. This decision comes about after a thought process that includes, “I am not going to give up my chance of having a baby, just because I was unable to find a husband.”

I will not pass judgment on either type. All kinds of permutations play into the lives people live and the choices they make (and this applies to men too – except they don’t have the opportunity to give birth).

But I think Rivkah’s choice to go with Avraham’s servant was a coda to a wonderful first impression she gave him. And, in a sense, the timing was perfect for her to go to marry Yitzchak, because as confident and self-aware as she was, she was young enough to recognize that marriage was something she wanted, and that the opportunity she had before her may have been a once-in-a-lifetime chance to leave her surroundings and join what would undoubtedly become a great nation. In 24:49, the servant said if she wouldn’t come, he would look elsewhere.

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