If the Torah is supposed to be teaching us lessons for all time, what do we learn from the encounter between Rivka and Eliezer? What I mean is that she appears to be doing everything that we here wouldn’t want our daughters to do. For example, first she talks to Eliezer, who’s a stranger – so it’s a young girl talking to strangers. Then she accepts from this stranger a gift and she then talks to the stranger about where he’s going to sleep that night and she encourages the stranger to follow her home. And then she tells her parents that she’s going to leave with this stranger with or without their consent and then ten years later at the tender age of thirteen, she’s living with Yitzchok as husband and wife. Why do we hope our daughters turn to be out like Rivka?
So we’ll explain it now so that you’ll understand why we should hope they’ll turn out like Rivka.
Girls don’t talk to strangers today because it’s a wicked world; but you must know that even among non-Jews in those days there was law and order, especially if a stranger came into your town. You have to realize what a town was. There was no democracy in the olden days. A town was a family and when a stranger came into your town he was bereft of rights. He was at the mercy of the town. You understand that? So you could talk to a stranger at the well where people come to draw water without the slightest fear, because the stranger would be most polite – even if he wasn’t Eliezer eved Avraham; even if he was a barbarian.
In those days, a stranger who came to your town was afraid of you. Any little girl could go to the patriarch of the town and say, “He said ‘boo’ to me,” and the stranger was finished. They’d take off all his clothing and they’d make him a slave forever to that family. That’s all they’d do. And they did it. In other countries they did that. Strangers were made slaves, because being a stranger, a traveler who is not settled, was considered a very great sin in some places. And therefore, Rivka had no fear of the stranger.
Now, why did she offer the stranger to go home with her? Because she was taking him home to her family among her people. The stranger would follow her with the greatest decency and politeness – even if he was a barbarian as I explained before.
Now, why should she accept gifts? Why shouldn’t she? If a man gives you a gift, let’s say, and you’re surrounded by a bodyguard and he’s giving you a gift, are you afraid something will happen? And therefore, she was safe and sound and she could accept gifts. There was no reason why not.
Now, to engage in marriage at the age of thirteen is the very best thing for a girl. Because once a girl knows she has a husband, so she begins living together with him and they begin accommodating themselves to each other and by the time she is eighteen or twenty, there’s no problem of adjustment. She grows up with him.
Now today we don’t do that because the culture in which we live is opposed to that. But it’s a good lesson that girls should get married as early as possible because when a boy and girl grow up and they mature more and more into the twenties, then each one acquires their own idiosyncrasies, their own habits and mannerisms, and later it becomes more and more difficult to adjust. The earlier you marry, the easier it is to adjust.
And that’s the advantage of marrying a young girl, because a young girl is more plastic – and also a young boy, by the way. And the girls who wait until they find an old fellow, they’re going to find the reason that he was so old is because he couldn’t get married earlier because he was a tough customer. That’s why it’s a very difficult thing to talk a shidduch to an old bochur, because an old bochur is a very tough nut to crack. Of course, sometimes your mazel will be that you’ll marry an old bochur and it’ll turn out good, but marriage while you’re young is the very best method.
Now, as far as marrying a person that you don’t know and against your parent’s consent – let’s understand what happened there. When Eliezer came, you must know, he came with introductions. When he said, “Eved Avraham anochi – I am a servant of Avraham,” immediately they knew who he was, because Avraham was famed in Padan Aram from the mouths of travelers. And this family, Rivka’s family, thirstily listened to all the stories of Avraham. They knew he was a great man. They knew he had a son Yitzchok and they knew that Yitzchok was to inherit all of Avraham’s possessions and therefore, when Eliezer came, it was all known. There was no question who he was. He had credentials and it was all verified and Rivka chose to marry Yitzchok and she went along with Eliezer. She chose to marry a prince. Avraham was a nasi Elokim and therefore Yitzchok was a prince. And so, whether her parents consented or not, she would be doing the wisest thing she could do. If a girl, let’s say, decides to marry a son of a rosh yeshiva and her parents want davkeh a doctor and she refuses to listen to her parents, are you going to say she is culpable or blameworthy for that?
TAPE # 245