Rivka's Age When She Married Yitzckak

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    “multiple contradictory Medrashim”

    It is worthwhile to review the Rabbi Avraham ben HaRambam’s “Discourse on the Sayings of the Rabbis” that discusses how to understand midrash/aggadata. It is printed at the beginning of the Ein Yaakov aggadata collection.



    To the poster that calls himself gavra_at_”work”:

    Your belief is wrong. The point is academic “modern researchers” cannot declare Rashi’s girsa “incorrect”.

    P.S. Rashi’s pshat, is the poshut pshat.

    Thank you for correcting me. As long as you are not Maleg on the rishonim, its all good in my book.

    As per Rashi, as we said in yeshiva, Poshut P’shat is many times the most difficult Pshat. Rashi is concise and every word is important, which makes it more difficult to understand.

    Halevi: I don’t think anyone applies our “moral standards” to the times of the Avos. For example, Dina was about 8? when she was kidnapped by Shechem, and the Torah faults her for being a Yotzanis!

    There are other issues with Rivka being 3. For example, the other medrashim Tos. Brings down. Also, the Torah praises Rivka for being a Besulah, and if she was 3 & 3 days, the fact she was a besulah for 3 days (since before a full 3 years it grows back, al Pi Chazal) is not a big deal.

    In fact, as an interesting understanding in Rashi of how Rivka became who she was at such a young age in the home of Lavan & Besuel, I would theorize that Rivka was able to be who she was at 3 due to her mother seeing Avraham when he came to bury Terach (who died 2 years earlier, and Avraham came to bury him (see Medrash Rabba)), and influeced her (the mother).


    Whether she was 3 or 300, it is pretty clear that at least some rishonim thought she was 3 and were willing to accept that, and did not challenge it on moral grounds.

    I happen not to care how old she was, since it will not change my life, and I will use it neither as a basis to marry a 3 year old, nor as a basis not to.

    I can happily accept that it would be a bit odd to marry a 3 year old today, while accepting that yitzchak did it.

    This is not the only thing rishonim disagree on, I can live with it.


    If you think I wasn’t talking to you about disregarding Rashi based on your values, which is true, why do you respond to that?

    The Gemara also has some differences in letters in the Torah. Did you ever see Rishonim saying it is wrong? We say it is different.

    I’m aware of the fact that there was a different Seder Olam in France than the one in Bavel at the time of the Geonim. Somebody tried quoting Tosfos as saying that there are conflicting versions of it, and that is wrong. Personaly, I would give more validity to the one used by the Rishonim rather than something we came across, being that they edited out what they saw fit and we can assume that their Nusach was chosen and perfected by them.

    Then there is the aspect of Hashgacha. Just as we say that Hashem is present in Beis Din, so too do we apply that to the Torah of the generations. We cannot disregard a Rashi no matter what. Chazal say that Hashem quotes the Chachamim, even though the reason for Machlokes is the lack of passing the Torah down. What caused it is one thing, but now it is Torah that is a product of Torah Lishma and is added to and a part of the ever growing tree of Torah. When Rishonim argue on Rashi they don’t say he is wrong, they use the term, it does not shine. We seldomely find ‘wrong’ in the Rishonim or Acharonim, even in the face of alot of proof.

    So, while it is fine to point out that there are different Nuschaos, there is a way to approach that without saying that Rashi is wrong. Talking like that is what got you responses saying that you have no idea who Rashi was, which of course we don’t, and other derogatory statements (besides for your political leanings, which seems to be the worst sin). Our approach to Torah is not like a professor browsing ‘texts’. It’s our Torah and our lifeline and our connection to Hashem.


    Like Tosfos says, it takes alot for a whole paragraph to fall in. Most probably the other Nusach was changed to match the other Midrashim.

    I had to write this, because there is no way to delete a double post.


    “We seldomely find ‘wrong’ in the Rishonim or Acharonim, even in the face of alot of proof.”

    True. But sometimes we do. Ibn Ezra famously got some geography in Eretz Yisrael wrong. We don’t rely on Rambam’s medical writings, nor his astronomy. (He would not have wanted us to!)

    That they got some facts wrong, however, does nothing to detract from either their greatness in Torah or their authority in halachah! The abovereferenced yud that isn’t missing has no halachic consequences, and neither does the question of Rivkah’s age, but sometimes the differences found in different manuscripts does.

    “When Rishonim argue on Rashi they don’t say he is wrong”

    Actually, sometimes they do!


    charlie: Example?


    Famous example is Rashi in the fourth perek in Keddushin where Rashi deduces that the rivers (Pras & Chidekel) are backwards (flow from south to north). Tos. there says they flow north to south (which is what they actually do).

    As Rashi there points out (71b), he never saw the rivers himself, and deduced his shita from the “Inyan”.


    To those who are bothered by the young age and aren’t satisfied knowing that different times have different norms: Today, I came across a Gemara in Nida 45a that relates how Antonines’ granddaughter, Justine, asked Rebbe how young it is possible to marry. When Rebbe answered, three, she said that she was married at six. She then exclaimed, oh what a pity, I wasted three years in my father’s house!

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