Torah Portion notes from First Fruits of Zion


Chayei Sarah – חיי שרה : “Life of Sarah”
Torah : Genesis 23:1-25:18
Haftarah : I Kings 1:1-31
Gospel : Matthew 2:1-23

Thought for the Week:

Genesis 24:67 says that Isaac took Rebekah, she became his wife and he loved her. Notice the order. This seems backward to us. We would expect the opposite. In our culture, we believe that a person should marry whoever he or she falls in love with. Falling in love is a terrible criteria upon which to base a marriage. What should marriage be based upon?

Commentary:

Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and he took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her; thus Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death. (Genesis 24:67)

Isaac took his bride into his mother’s tent. All this time Sarah’s tent had been empty and forlorn, symbolizing the absence of the eishet chayil (virtuous wife). The Torah portion began the story of Rebekah by telling us of the death of Sarah. Since his mother’s death, Isaac had been in mourning. He keenly felt her absence. Isaac taking his bride into Sarah’s tent symbolizes Rebekah stepping into Sarah’s role as matriarch over the house of Abraham. In the language of the rabbis, Rebekah became the house of Isaac.

Abraham loved Sarah, and Isaac loved Rebekah. Genesis 24:67 says that Isaac took Rebekah, she became his wife and he loved her. Notice the order. This seems backward to us. We would expect the opposite. He should have fallen in love with her, married her and then taken her into the tent. The Bible has a more sober (but no less romantic) view of marriage. Isaac did not marry Rebekah because he loved her; he loved Rebekah because he married her. Considering the folly of the human heart and the fickle ups and downs of emotions, this is the proper order of things. We should love our spouses because they are our spouses.

In our culture, we believe that a person should marry whoever he or she falls in love with. This is a bad plan. It is possible to fall in love with the wrong person. It is possible to fall in love with many wrong persons. Falling in love is a terrible criteria upon which to base a marriage. It would have been easy for Isaac to fall in love with any number of Canaanite girls.

As children of Abraham and followers of Messiah, we men are to love our wives. Paul tells men to love their wives as themselves–and more than that, to love them as Messiah loved the assembly. He warns husbands not to become embittered against their wives. It’s not a matter of the whims and inclinations of the heart; it is a duty of every husband to love his wife.

If a man or woman bases his or her marriage merely on love, it is doomed from the start. Feelings are unpredictable. They rise and fall. They come and go. Marriage must not be based upon love. Love must be based upon marriage.

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5 thoughts on “Torah Portion notes from First Fruits of Zion

  1. YahKheena says:

    If a man or woman bases his or her marriage merely on love, it is doomed from the start. Feelings are unpredictable. They rise and fall. They come and go. Marriage must not be based upon love. Love must be based upon marriage/covenant/commitment!

    I added the last two words… I love this statement! In our case it is so true. Neither my husband or myself knew the other, we attended the same church but didn’t know each other. Then Yah spoke to both of us and told us to marry, there were several confirmations (which I needed to marry a person I didn’t know) So we married each other, not really knowing each other. We had a three month engagement before we exchanged vows. Our love for each other is not based on ‘feelings’ but on our covenant towards each other… Funny how we don’t even see the word ‘love’ as a feeling based word but an action based word… it’s nice to see how Yah changes our way of thinking. Thanks for the post 😉

  2. bkolisha says:

    I’m not sure I comprehend the meaning of the statement that marriage must not be based upon love, love must be based upon marriage. I think the other commenter is closer in adding covenant, but perhaps I misunderstand the statement. Could you clarify?
    I have a tab on my blog, God’s Love Story: the Ish and Isha in a post called the Mystery of Divine Intimacy.
    I have asked this question of many believers, particularly newly marrieds and the answer is always the same, ” I never thought of that.”The question is, “Why do we as sons of God not ask the Father if this mate we have found is our Ish or Isha?” Do we possibly assume they are our created mate because of our feelings or experience only?

    I am writing a piece on Genesis 1, regarding what Yeshua speaks about in Matt.19:8. He refers to Genesis where the Ish and Isha become One. The Father originally brought the woman to the man. Rebekah comes to the well where the servant of Abraham finds her and eventually brings her to Isaac.

    As for the statement, She became his wife and he loved her, It reads in Hebrew that he is receiving her as his Isha and he is loving (affection, sexual) her. So he is taking on the responsibility as her Ish to protect, nurture and mature her to perfection and becoming one with her both spiritually and sexually. She is now his ezer kenegdo. Is it not possible that God seeks to bring us excellence in a mate but we have learned to compromise in this world of loneliness and corruption of the created order? Believers have as high and in some cases higher rates of divorce than the world. I do agree with this author of this blog that love,(as the world defines it) cannot be the basis of “marriage”. In God’s eyes, becoming one is a covenant and since God is love, our love as Ish and Isha must be based on the covenant we have with Him, first and then we can become one in all ways, intellectually, emotionally, sexually, etc. Divine Intimacy requires oneness, as Yeshua said, He who has seen me has seen the Father. An Ish, spiritual man receives his life source from Yeshua and is then able to give to the Isha and she in turn receives and gives back life to the Ish, to Yeshua and to the Father. The Ish must do as Christ did for His bride and laid down His life to perfect her so that the bride may present herself to as we see in Ephesians 5:27, free from spot or wrinkle…perfected.

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