Rivka Olenick


"And Isaac brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother; he married Rebecca, she became his wife and he loved her; and thus was Isaac consoled after his mother." Genesis 24: 67

It appears that the sentence above contains some unnecessary as well as some needed information. However, this would be contrary to the idea of not adding to or taking away from the Torah since the Torah,s statements are all perfect truths. There is an order to the above statements. "And Isaac brought her into the tent of Sarah his mother." The word "and" indicates a continuation from Sarah to Rebecca. We already know that Sarah is Isaac's mother yet the Torah states "Sarah his mother." He married Rebecca, she became his wife this seems obvious, yet it was necessary to make two separate statements. "And he loved her; and thus was Isaac consoled after his mother". It was after Isaac married Rebecca she became his wife. And it was after she became his wife that he loved her, not before. Love came after marriage. It also seems obvious that since Isaac married Rebecca and she became his wife, he loved her. Why does the sentence add: "And he loved her?" Is there a difference between love and consolation? Isn't love part of consolation? The dictionary's definition is as follows: "Console- to comfort, to cheer, especially by making up for a loss or disappointment, to give contentment or moderate happiness by relieving from distress." When you love your neighbor as yourself isn't part of that love to also console your neighbor in his/her time of pain and sorrow? Yet the Torah is indicating two separate ideas here: love and consolation. The Ramban's statement below joins love and consolation together by adding through. And it is through his love for his wife, was he consoled. The Torah does not say "and she loved him and he was consoled". Here Isaac loves Rebecca, and is consoled by her through his love for her. His love for her is not because she loves him - that would be strictly an emotional reciprocation of her love. Rather it was based on her greatness, how she lived her life, her emulation of Sarah. Isaac grieved for his mother and all that she was. He needed comfort from his wife who would continue in the righteousness and deeds of his mother.

The Ramban states: "He found consolation only through his love for his wife." This love was inspired by her righteousness and the aptness of deeds, the only criteria upon which the Torah bases the love between husband and wife". The Ramban says: "only through his love for his wife did Isaac find consolation." Only through his love would mean that he perceives and sees and knows that his love for her is based upon her actions. The same actions that his mother Sarah performed meaning the love and respect he had for Sarah his mother he has for Rebecca. Sarah's tent was not dismantled and Isaac brought Rebecca to his mother Sarah's tent not his tent, indicating that Rebecca would continue Sarah's activities of chesed.

Rashi says: "This is the way of the world; a man is attached to his mother during her lifetime: when she dies he finds comfort in his wife."

When Isaac brought Rebecca into Sarah's tent he saw that Rebecca was like Sarah in her deeds and in her ways. It was after he brought her into the tent did he observe this himself and he married her. After all, Isaac knew Eliezer was bringing someone for him to marry. He knew that Eliezer was looking for the right person who would fit the profile of a woman of kindness, of chesed. He saw himself that her deeds were righteous. Do people objectively look at the actions of the other person? A person only looks at the actions of another only in relation to themselves. The person asks: "What is this person doing for me? What am I getting?" That's what matters! This is an extremely important point often overlooked by people who are dating. Most people are too caught up in the image and appearance of the other person how the person looks can have such a powerful effect on the other person that negative personality traits are secondary even overlooked and at worst denied. This is a real trap that many people don't know they're in and others can't get out of. Isaac saw what Rebecca was that she was kind and righteous in all her actions, this is what naturally produces love. Love is the result. And supports the Ramban's statement that the only criteria of the Torah regarding love between man and woman is based on how a person lives their life.

Samson Raphael Hirsch adds: "Marriage preceded love, the more they were married, the more Isaac loved her." In this, the first Jewish marriage the Torah illustrates the principle that has generally been followed by Jews." Jewish marriages are contracted not as a result of passion and romance, but as a result of good judgment and sound reason. If the couple is well suited, the marriage will result in love and happiness. Marriages based on pre-marital infatuation, however all too often fail the test of married life. The chapter ends with the words that exalt and ennoble the status of a Jewish wife. Isaac was a mature man when his mother died, but he could not be consoled as long as the sweetness and goodness of the Matriarch was gone from the home. In his wife he found consolation she embodied worth, nobility and greatness.