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Rabbi Gordon - Toldot: 1st Portion

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Anonymous November 6, 2018

Two points:

1) From my understanding, Rashi takes the midrash’s interpretation that the age for marital relations is 3 (which I’m struggling to wrap my head around that). So they got married when she was 3, to take her away from the evil and immoral land where Rivkah was from so that she wouldn’t be raped. Let me know if there’s an explanation that would help me understanding how the age of 3 is that age when a girl can get married. Also, the timeline of it doesn’t make sense because she was already a mature woman when Eliezer brought her back to meet Isaac.

2) this contradicts the section in chayei Sarah where is says that Lavan gave Rivkah the option to stay 10 months or to go right away with Eliezer.. how can a 3 year old girl comprehend or understand that type of a decision?

Perhaps there is something obvious or more general that I’m missing with this part.
Please Let me know. Reply

Rabbi Mendel Adelman November 7, 2018
in response to Anonymous:

Hello Anonymous,

1) The age of three for marriage is a technical minimum. Under that age, intercourse is not halachically considered technically feasible, so marriage does not apply. However, even if you marry a woman who is three, that marriage is not consummated until she is older. In fact, when she gets older, she can nullify the marriage if she wishes at any point. This is called Mi'un.

Although at the age of three, a girl lacks the knowledge required to make decisions regarding marriage, since marriages at the time were arranged, whether the children wanted it or not, from the age of three already, a parent could designate a spouse for his child.

This arrangement also allowed poor parents to relinquish responsibility of supporting the child to someone wealthier.

But, at the age of three, it wasn't real marriage. It was more of a designation.

The Midrash that says that she was three assumes that she had miraculous maturity, considering that she was bringing water for camels. Reply

Rabbi Mendel Adelman November 7, 2018
in response to Anonymous:

So, if you accept the Midrash, you must assume some type of miracle. The same miracle that allowed a three-year-old to go out alone to the well allowed her to have the maturity to make such a decision.

But, even according to the Midrash, she did not consummate her marriage with Yitzchak until she got older. Reply

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