Israel Forever

For the week ending 22 November 2003 / 27 Heshvan 5764

Problem of the Local Girl

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
Library Library Library

Whats wrong with a local girl?

This is the question that inevitably arises when one studies this weeks Torah portions account of the search initiated by Avraham for a bride for his son Yitzchak.

"You shall not take a wife to my son of the daughters of the Canaanites," Avraham sternly commands his trusted servant Eliezer, insisting that he seek such a candidate in his native Mesopotamia instead.

Neither the inhabitants of his ancestral homeland nor those of his present one were the paragons of religiosity appropriate as marriage partners for one of the Patriarchs. Why, then, did Avraham favor one over the others?

The commentaries explain that theological distortions are not hereditary, while flaws of character are. Avraham sought for his son a bride whose family had good character traits. The idolatrous concepts of her parents were not hereditary and could easily be abandoned once she joined Avrahams family. Such an opportunity was available in the Mesopotamian family of Lavan but not in Canaan where the corruption of character would inevitably be an inseparable part of her personality.

We live in a time when so much evil, in the form of terror and political corruption, is justified in the name of religion, when mass murder is dressed up as martyrdom. Jews have had such neighbors in the past and suffer from them today. Only by walking in the paths of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs and being solid in both our theological and character obligations can we merit to see an end to these problems for Israel forever.

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