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Why Did Rebecca Have to Grow Up Among Bad People?

Why Did Rebecca Have to Grow Up Among Bad People?

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Rebecca is considered to be the proverbial “rose among thorns.” Our sages explain that the rose grows among the thorns precisely so that the thorns rub against its petals, causing them to emit their pleasant fragrance.

Similarly, Rebecca grew up among “thorns,” people who were immoral in every sense. But this strengthened her to realize the bankruptcy and valuelessness of a G‑dless, immoral way of life, and to appreciate the beauty of a true and G‑d-fearing life. That is why she so readily agreed to join Eliezer, servant of Abraham, to take her to Isaac and become his wife. She sensed the integrity of a lofty, moralistic life, which was so different from her own surroundings.

From our Patriarchs and Matriarchs we “inherit” our capacity to serve G‑d; that is why they, and only they, are considered to be our national “fathers” and “mothers.” The three Patriarchs and four Matriarchs each served G‑d in a unique way, and passed on their form of service to every Jew until the end of time. From Rebecca we inherited the ability to thrive despite adversity. Rebecca teaches us that we can all overcome our negative surroundings and background, and attain great heights despite them. Had Rebecca not grown up in a wicked home, this element of divine service might not have been a part of our repertoire.1

Moreover, it was due to Rebecca’s heightened ability to identify and sense evil and negativity that she was able to perceive the true nature of her two sons, Jacob and Esau. She saw that Esau’s craftiness would lead only to a lowly life of corruption. It was this perception, which she acquired specifically because of her youth, which enabled her to plot out the plan to exchange the recipient of Isaac’s blessings and thus change the course of history.

I hope this helps you,
Chana Weisberg for Chabad.org

FOOTNOTES
1.

Abraham and Sarah were also raised in pagan homes, but their parents were refined individuals of upright character. Rebecca grew up in a corrupt and conniving society and household.

Chana Weisberg is the editor of TheJewishWoman.org. She lectures internationally on issues relating to women, relationships, meaning, self-esteem and the Jewish soul. She is the author of five popular books.
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Discussion (6)
November 23, 2014
Grandfather
Rivka`s grandfather (mother`s side) he was a man of his word and a trader. He was a man of title in the land. But her grandmother was like Hannah, prayed for a son to continue his tradition. When all she got was a son in law , she gave him the place of a son. That is why she got blessed by both her father`s and mother`s family. It is a family which a girl has inheritance rights in her mother`s family even after marriage.They trusted her with responsibility and they knew she would keep the trust .
Anonymous
toronto
June 2, 2014
family
Rebecca would never call her family immoral , it is another normal family. Her circumstances may be trying , but without such circumstances she would not learn to trust God.
Anonymous
toronto
November 7, 2012
Why did Besuel not want her to marry Yitzchok?
Granted Rebecca's family were immoral. But why would they not want her to marry Yitzchok, who was essentially a prince? Pharaoh wanted his daughter to be a maidservants in the house of Abraham. Why didn't Rebecca's father want the same for his daughter?
Boruch Merkur
November 7, 2012
Rivka's mother's side
I'm curious about Abraham and hs brother (Rivka's grandfather) mother's side of the family, or did Rivka inherit all her good DNA from her father/grandfather's side?
Anonymous
March 18, 2009
Can
If we should hate the sin, not the sinner, how does one bring a sinner to repent? Why didn't Rivka try to do what Avraham did, that is, teach the goodness of G-d to her family?
MosheVellvill
Dallas, TX
August 11, 2008
My Dvar Torah
I was really stuck on what more to write for my Batmitzvah Dvar Torah - since my name is Rivkah I was going to write mostly about her.
I had no idea what to add and then I read this and it gave me a tonne of ideas so thank you.
Victoria
London, UK
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