Re: Could Yitzchak have married Rivkah when she was three?
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Re: Could Yitzchak have married Rivkah when she was three?

November 05, 2018 07:45AM
In response to David Derovan’s question, I would emphasize other opinions and place this midrash in the larger context of other statements of Chazal.

How did one opinion in Chazal conclude that Rivkah was three when she married Yitzchak? Sarah is 90 when she gives birth to Yitzchak and she dies at 127. Thus, Yitzchak is 37 at the time of his mother’s death. It is tempting to connect Sarah’s passing (chapter 23) with the trauma associated with the immediately preceding story of the akedah (chapter 22). If so, Yitzchak was also 37 at the akedah. Between the akedah and the death of Sarah, the Torah reports on the family tree of Nachor including the birth of Rivkah. If we assume that Rivkah was born at the time of the akedah, then she is three years old at the time of the marriage since we know that Yitzchak got married at 40.

There are two assumptions here that can easily be disagreed with. It is not clear at all that Sarah’s death follows immediately upon the akedah. Perhaps 20 years passed by in between these two events. Secondly, the listing of a family tree does not entail that all the people mentioned were born at that moment. Perhaps Rivkah was born before the akedah but we only hear about her birth afterword. Either of these two moves would mean that Rivkah was older at the time of her wedding. As an aside, I will mention that the first move also affects Yitzchak’s age at the time of the akedah. Was he 37 and a mature adult or much younger as Ibn Ezra would have it?

The simple peshat of perek 24 certainly indicates that Rivkah is not a toddler. She is referred to as a na’arah, goes out to the well to draw water by herself, takes care of a guest and his camels, and makes the decision to leave home right away rather than stay for an extended period first. Indeed, Tosafot in Yevamot 61b cites an opinion that she was 14.

Secondly, statements in Chazal indicate that they did not like the idea of a young girl marrying and were sensitive to the problem of young girls being taken advantage of. As is well known, Rav (Kiddushin 41a) prohibited marrying off a daughter when she is still a minor. With regard to a minor’s ability to be responsible for her decisions, they ruled that פיתוי קטנה אונס הוא (Yevamot 33b). Furthermore, Maharal (Gur Aryeh Toldot) cites the statement that המשמשין בקטנות מעכבין את הגאולה. These sources do not make the midrashic opinion that Rivkah was three go away but they do provide some balance and context regarding our sages.

Yitzchak Blau



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/06/2018 12:03PM by mlb.
Subject Author Posted

Could Yitzchak have married Rivkah when she was three?

David Derovan October 28, 2018 02:16PM

Re: Could Yitzchak have married Rivkah when she was three?

Sharon Freundel October 29, 2018 01:49PM

Re: Could Yitzchak have married Rivkah when she was three?

David Fried November 05, 2018 07:13AM

Re: Could Yitzchak have married Rivkah when she was three?

Alyssa Sonnenblick October 31, 2018 12:26PM

Re: Could Yitzchak have married Rivkah when she was three?

sasson gabbai October 31, 2018 12:28PM

Re: Could Yitzchak have married Rivkah when she was three?

tdaum November 04, 2018 05:59PM

Re: Could Yitzchak have married Rivkah when she was three?

Avraham Norin November 05, 2018 06:46AM

Re: Could Yitzchak have married Rivkah when she was three?

Yitzchak Blau November 05, 2018 07:45AM

Re: Could Yitzchak have married Rivkah when she was three?

Russell Jay Hendel November 10, 2018 07:11PM

Re: Could Yitzchak have married Rivkah when she was three?

Shmuel Silberman November 05, 2018 07:55AM

Re: Could Yitzchak have married Rivkah when she was three?

Elisha Paul November 10, 2018 07:13PM

Re: Could Yitzchak have married Rivkah when she was three?

David Derovan November 12, 2018 09:29AM



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