Rebecca as the first Jewish bride in the Bible, Midrash literature and today

Valentine’s Day is not a part of Jewish customs, but on 14th February the subjects of flirts, courtship and engagement in Jewish tradition seem to be highly relevant.

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Bella Szwarcman-Czarnota: Rebecca as the first Jewish bride: in the Bible, Midrash literature and today (summary of the lecture.

Rebecca is one of four biblical matriarchs and the wife of patriarch Isaac. About how it led to this marriage tells Chapter 24 of the Book of Genesis, and some of the elements of the story are visible in a traditional wedding ceremony: matchmakers, covering the face with veil by the bride, the blessing addressed to her: „Our sister, be thou the mother in countless thousands”. As Rebecca was not married to Isaac without her consent, it is not allowed to marry a woman (especially an orphan) against her will. It is worth noting that the marriage of Rebecca and Isaac, the only relationship of patriarchs, was monogamous.Both the Torah, Midrash literature show Rebecca as an energetic, generous and noble person. She grew up in a morally questionable environment, but she was „like a lily among thorns”. Therefore, she was worthy of the position of a matriarch, the successor of Sarah, the mother of Isaac. The biblical text emphasizes that Isaac married Rebecca first and then fell in love with her. Only then did the mourning for the death of his mother stop, and his soul, as the rabbis say, „clung to the soul of his wife.”

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