Chavarah- Jewish Community Learning

A blog of Jewish study and traditions. Notes from classes: Torah Study with Rabbi Marder, Toledot and Shabbaton as well as other details found of interest.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

An Eager Bride...

Torah Study 10-22 Genesis 24:57-67

Rebecca's response...meeting Isaac

V57 let's call the girl and ask her personally if willing to go... In her presence. To assure she is not being manipulated. A woman may never be given in marriage without her consent

Will you go with this man? One word response. Yes.Naomi Rosenblat... Why is she so eager to go? She is eager to search for more meaning in life or sees a chance to escape her brother. Or both.

Rashi says she says she will go even if she is forbidden to go. Headstrong woman.

Abravanel points out no family member goes with her.

Midrash that the father was also cruel...

After agrees to go...

Sent off... Sister -kinship term. Sends with her nurse...wet-nurse... Word Greek origin, servant who supervised her upbringing and remains with her through adulthood. Devorah, a significant person.

Blessing.... May she grow into a myriad of people. A blessing of fertility. Similar to the blessing end of chapter 22 the Akidah...God bestows blessing on Isaac.

Blessing that enemies will turn to you and you will triumph over them.

Ellen Frankle...points out the two types of descendants. jews and non Jews ...Jacob and Esau.

Rebecca is linked to Abraham in various ways. Leaving family, blessed for descendants.

Traditional wedding blessing at bedekin. Veiling ceremony for a bride.

Rebecca and maids arose... Midrash that she rose spiritually also. Find a spouse who helps make you a better person.

Ride on the camels.

Meeting Isaac.

David Kimkee met in the fields. Chance occurrence outside the city.

He had come back from the well in the Negev.. Same well where Hagar was addressed by God.

Rashi...he had gone there to bring Hagar to his father to marry her.

Eli Munk... While father sends to get wife for Isaac . Isaac goes to find wife for his father then he goes to pray for his own marriage.

Romantic encounter.

Isaac in fields. Walking or talking with others or "bush" in prayer .. Rashi says in prayer.

Towards evening minhag prayer... Originated the evening prayer... (Abraham started morning prayer after destruction of Sidom and Gamorrah Jacob attributed to evening prayer.)

Raises his eyes (was closed in prayer). Sees camels coming.

Rebecca sees Isaac. Same phrase for each of them. Eyes met and they knew.

Marred because Rebecca asks who it is.

More literal translation. She fell off the camel ...

Asks who it is... Answer. My master... Now Isaac is the focus rather than Abraham.

She veils herself.

Wedding custom...from this episode. Chabad website.

Did not have veils as a regular custom.. ( remember when Sarah goes to Egypt )

Bride definitely is veiled. Rebecca’s gesture shows that she is ready.

Veiling custom. Groom veils the bride- Impresses her if her duty as a bride. Modesty dignity and chastity of the bride. Arranged marriage. Groom first sees face under the chuppah. Before the chuppah because of the story of Jacob.

End chapter. Brings her into the tent if Sarah. Consummates marriage and then loved her...

Sarna - she is now the matriarch replaces Sarah. Rashi. She becomes Sarah... Like Sarah his mother. Strong maternal figure.

The tent of Sarah was dark

Robert Alter. Rebecca fills emotional gap ... No mention of Abraham.. Possibly he is dead. But others note he is remarried.

SRHirsch.. Why off camel. She didn't want to seem haughty. She wanted to be humble.

First wife and then love. The more time the more love in the marriage... Growth of love. Not so much for romantic love..

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Marriage Negotiation - Eliezer Twists the Story....

Study 10-15
Genesis 24:39-60

Rehearsal come true. Marriage negotiations. Rebecca agrees to go with him.

V39. Eliezer - servant recounts story in a way to impress the family.
What if she doesn't follow him?
V5-6 Abraham had said if she doesn't follow DO NOT bring Isaac there.
Here Eliezer changes the story a bit. Not from fathers house now from land. To family if not go with me... Implying that it is up to the family. No mention of Isaac not going there. Abraham told. From his fathers house. But before just from the land.

"perhaps" in Hebrew the vav is missing. Defective spelling.

Prejudicial view that Eliazer wanted Isaac to marry his daughter. Midrash.

Abraham walks before God. Compared with Noah who walked with God. Shows Abraham's strength.

V45. Recounting story... Scarcely finished praying in his heart silently... when Rebecca shows up. She didn't hear him.

V47 whose daughter? Changed slightly from v24 order mom first then dad changed to dad first ... True patriarchal order.

First jewelry then ask whose daughter. - reshapes this in reverse order...

V48. Daughter of his masters brother ...kinsman..
V49. True kindness. Phrase shows up again Gen. 47:29. No repayment. Kindness to the dead. Promise made and fulfilled.

Tell me if show torrid kindness so he can turn to right or to left... So he know how to proceed. Rashi. Geographic representation Should he turn the south to set it up with Ishmael's family. Or to left to Lot's family.

They do know that he is wealthy. Still question why it was accepted so quickly.

Intermediaries used for negotiating deals especially for marriage.
Notice who talks and who doesn't

V50 Laban and her father speaks. Only place where he appears. Grammatical issue. Singular verb but there are two people.

Who gets the gifts? Not the father. And he is absent from the rest of the episode.

Nachum Sarna. Father was feeble or infirm and could not respond. Son listed first.
Not unusual for the son to do this
Altar says that he is probably dead or absent.

Rashi. Laban first because he was wicked and has bad manners and he usurps the honor of his father.

Why are they referring to God? They do not follow the same faith. But they are aware

V52. Bows. V53. Brings out the loot... Gives jewelry to Rebecca. Then presents to Laban and the Mom... (later in negotiation for Dina uses the Bride Price) compensation to the family for the value of the daughter. Matan gifts to the family... Here it goes to the brother and the mother. Different from dowry. Property goes to the brides family.

In some views Jews should not give engagement rings. Accidentally married.

Clear what given to Rebecca but not so clear what is given to the family.
SRH. Says not necessarily hard gifts. Could have been sweet fruits.
Token gifts. Not a bride being bought.

What if they don't like the gifts?
Later ask for delay. Why? They thought he would give more... Thus delay to try to get more. Or maybe a way to back out?
About the primary status of Rebecca in the new household.

V54. Next stage in negotiations. Betrothal feast... Eat and drink
V55-58. Timing questions.
Later with 31:27. Jacob leaves in secret. Laban mentions that theynwould have a feast and more.
Unclear how many days? Or ten? Not really clarified.. Rashi. Say a a year. Shana year in days... Period of time for her to "adorn herself" get her truseau. (also proof not pregnant in some societies)

Answer not to delay. He needs to go back. Abraham is old.
V57. Call for her to make a verbal consent. She says in one word. "I will go".
She is given in marriage only if she consents.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Details - Rebecca's Family...

Torah Study 10-1

Genesis 24:26-41 Servants prayer. Rebecca's family... Brother Laban.

Eliazer according to Midrash. Prayer to the God of Abraham. Personal prayer. Prayer of praise ... Bowed low. V26. All the way to the ground. SRH - offering entirely to God.

V27. Blessed is Adonai... Offering a blessing ... Giving something. What can we give to God? Translated in a different way. The one from whom blessings come. Or. Translate as a pool of water. God is like a never-ending stream. Like a relationship with God.

Not withheld steadfast kindness... Hessed and emet. Together these words mean more. Kindness and loyalty and truth.

Ibn Ezra. Action given freely...Plus Emet truth always linked together.

SRH. Emotion translated into action. Hessed and love is often blind. Expresses the wishes that are good for you a truthful kindness ...

Rashi. When Jacob is near death ch 49:29. Hessed shel emet Asks to be buried in Israel. Kindness to the dead without expectation of anything in return.

Article From the Jewish week in 2010.

About a Jamacian convert who was shot in a hold up. The honor guard for the dead. Burial society went with him to his burial.

V28. She ran to her mothers house... The idea of the mothers house is unusual? Then the response about her fathers house.

Mothers house also mentioned in book of Ruth and also in the psalm of psalms.

Laban. Brother. First mention. Name means white. He "whitened the face" of Israel. Embarrassment

All of Abrahams family names relate to the moon... They were worshipers of the moon.

V30. He notices the jewelry. Ran to the well to meet the man. Cinematic moment!

Reflects on Laban's greed.

v31. Laban comes to the man... Greeting read differently by commentators.

Come in. Why standing outside?

Robert Altar. Language is nobility. Courtly. Extravagant with self interest.

SRH. All saw the trinkets. But Laban was wanting more from the man.. Greed.

Surprised that he is still at the well. Not a pleasant greeting? More rude.

Made ready the house.. Cleaned out the house. Midrash per Rashi...removed the idols.

Laban is still characterized as thinking only of material things.

V32. Entered the house. Camels were unloaded. Rashi... Loosed their muzzles that were to keep them from eating other people's food.. They were fed.

Midrash... Rabbi Pinchas ben Yair's donkey. According to the Talmud, his donkey would never eat untithed grain. It could sense that the food was inappropriate and would decline of its own accord, without being told that it was forbidden. The Jerusalem Talmud tells us that this is an indication of a righteous person -- that not only will he never accidentally eat something that is not proper but even his animal will not.

Don't rely on miracles when it is a matter of theft. Don't leave your wallet about.

Bathe feet and men with him. Now mentioned the other men. Other attendees. Order camels fed and the the man...feed animals first.

Before eat must tell his tale.. Do not have to wait to eat...

The tale. V34. Compare to the actual incidence at v24.

Repetition Rashi -The everyday conversation is important to God.

Eliazer shifts the story. Abraham's servant. God has blessed his master with many things. (in previous chapter Abrahams wealth less noticed). Master bore son in her old age. Pointing out that Isaac is young. And that the son is to inherit all. Master made him swear.

Not to get wife from where the Cannanites... He modified to focus on the land rather than the idol worship... Leaves out that he forbids Isaac to go there. You shall go to my fathers house to his family. (previous verse only talks about the location).

Words manipulated throughout the tale for positive effect.

Matchmaking... Hassidic commentary. Why change words? Needed to stay clear of describing Isaac vs telling about Abraham. Safer to tell about Abraham!