My blog post might be too long for you, and it is. Believe me. I wrote it! That’s why I’ve divided it into multiple parts
- – Parshat Chayei Sarah
- – Story 29 – Burial of Sarah
- – Story 30 – Finding Becky(this post!)
- – Story 31 – Isaac Meets Rebecca
- – Story 32 – Abraham’s Offspring
Story 30 – Finding BeckyThe second one is just… cool. So fresh, so groundbreaking, so full of meaning! I love it. Probably one of my favourites. And when I say that I love it, there is a reason why I use the word Love… so you have to stay tuned for that!
Abraham now has to wed his lazy son Isaac. He was a bit lazy, let’s face that fact! So, since dear Yitz don’t want to get out and do much (that’s my interpretation), Abe sends his servant,- some say Eliezer, but he is not referred to by name here, so we need to go to the midrash for that information- to go find him a wife.
I mean, I wish it was that easy. He just told Eliezer (let’s call him by his aggadic name instead of Servant) to find a wife. He says yes, and then he swears to him that he will find her… by putting his hand under his tights… Why would you have to do this? My idea (and I might be stealing this from someone, I don’t know… is that the only sign of the covenant is Abraham’s scar after he got circumcised, and that represents something holy. But what do I know? But he can’t just find “any” wife. I mean, this is not Jswipe. So let me tell you what was the criteria:- She can’t be a Canaanite. That’s it.
Well, and she has to be from “the land of my father”, says Abraham. She just can’t be a Canaanite. But Eliezer knows better, and ask… and what if I find her and she does not want to join me on this crazy idea of marrying a guy she has never met before?
Can you imagine that? Marrying someone you have never met before?
But I digress… And here is my favourite part of this story, of Part one of this week’s saga: Consent!
Let that sink in for a second. Eliezer is saying… and what if I find a girl for Yitzi, but she does not want to? Even with all the gold and bling and Camels? Then no. That’s it. If she says no, it is NO. There are no shades of grey; there is no “but…” there is no “well, she kinda wanted to”; or my favourite growing up: “There is no such thing as a no, but a hard yes”.
So my dear atheist that like to hate on the bible, here you have at least one piece of amazing truth. If you like to pick and choose verses to say that this is a terrible book, I am going to do the same and say this:
The Torah is teaching us about consent. No means No
Nothing new under the sun and what happens now happened long ago!
And the story suddenly gets better!
SO MUCH BETTER
So, this guy goes all the way, full of gold and bling and camels (believe me, camels are a big part of the story!) and says to himself: “But how would I know that the woman is the right one? Hence he prays. He speaks to himself and sets expectations and boundaries.
Boundaries you say? Yes… things that he believes will be good and things that he believes should be done as a bare minimum:
- She will offer him water (or he’ll ask… can’t remember now)
- She will offer water to the camels too!
So now he is looking for a good host, or at least someone that cares for others, for a stranger in the desert that is arriving near the water well. Someone that will also care for the animals! A woman that is a nice person, a good host AND caring for animals! And as soon as he says that… boom! There she is!
And kids, the moral of the story (I am not nearly done with this, but let’s pretend because most of you will not read it all), is that once you know what you want, you might be able to get it. Or you will start the path to get it. Because now you know what are the signs.
Anyhow… here the book first mention that she is a virgin – בְּתוּלָ֕ה / Betulah – and later she is called a young woman – הָֽעַלְמָה֙ / Alma-. And also a maiden, and later a girl – This might seem not so important, but a mistranslation of these two words later on (Isaiah) in the Septuagint caused a bit of a theological problem for religious relatives the cousins!
Ok, enough Lucas, focus! Back to the story: So he talks to her, tells her he is looking for a wife for his Master’s son. And she goes… cool. And he goes… do you have a couch for me to crash and she goes… Yes… we have enough space, food and hay. I am guessing either to serve as a bed or as food for the camels.
And then we meet Laban. Everyone’s favourite brother (of Little Becky) father (Leah and Rachel) and the best father in law in the history of In-Laws….
If you want to wish someone something bad at their wedding, and I am not saying you should, but just in case, I am giving you here one option, wish them “And I wish your in-laws are like Laban”.
And done! You just got kicked out of the wedding. So wait to say it after the cake!
Then Becky’s mom is mentioned, but not named (obviously), and Eliezer asks her, or rather them (Laban and the unnamed mother) to let him go right away, but they want to spend time with Rivka… I mean, she is going to leave for good! They want quality time with her.
And then… hold on to your seats…. They do the unthinkable! They say “let’s ask Rivvy what she wants to do”!- “Rivvy, do you want to stay with us for a few more days? Or do you want to go now with this man”?And then she says… “cool, let’s go… Let’s “Lech Lecha” the heck out of this story and let’s get up and go”!
[Editor’s note… some of the dialogue was altered for dramatic purposes. The Torah is more serious and concise with its language than this “commentator wannabe” pretends to be!]
And so they got up and left!
And there was night and there was day, Part One.
Once again, comments, recommendations, critiques and/or anything you might want to share with me regarding the maps, let me know here or on Instagram (@torahmaps)
Your favourite Mapper (or digital Cartographer),
To go to one of the additional posts from this Parsha, follow the links: