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And Yitzchak was forty years old when he took Rivkah the daughter of Besuel the Arami from Padam Aram sister of Lavan the Arami as a wife for himself. (Bereishis 25:20)
Previously in parshas Chayei Sara the Torah described in unusual great length the details of Yitzchaks match to Rivkah. Most of the information presented by the above posuk was already taught there. We may therefore ask, why did the Torah repeat this information here as an introduction to this parsha. Seemingly, this parsha should have begun by relating that Rivkah was barren. Even if we were to answer that this posuk was needed in order to teach us the age of Yitzchak, we may still ask why wasnt this information taught in parshas Chayei Sara together with the other minute details of Yitzchaks match to Rivkah?
Perhaps we may suggest that the marriage of Yitzchak is written twice because it is presented from two different perspectives. In parshas Chayei Sara, the story is told from the perspective of Avraham and Eliezer, whereas here it is told from the perspective of Yitzchak himself.
The Torah describes the event twice in order to teach us that although from the perspective of an outsider it was clear that the match of Yitzchak to Rivkah was accomplished through Divine Providence yet to Yitzchak himself it appeared to be his own doing. In parshas Chayei Sara the Torah goes to great length to describe the unusual Divine Providence which was so overwhelming that even the evil Lavan and Besuel were forced to admit, form Hashem the matter has come about (Bereishis 24:50). Yet here when the posuk describes Yitzchaks marriage to Rivkah the posuk says And Yitzchak took Rivkah as a wife for himself. Seemingly the words as a wife for himself are extra. We may suggest that these words may homiletically be interpreted as saying that from Yitzchaks point of view, his choice of Rivkah as a wife did not necessitate any unusual Divine intervention.
This indeed is a phenomenon of shidduchim. Despite all the obvious Divine Providence that goes into the making of a shidduch, Hashem deludes the couple into believing that it was their decision. Indeed, this is an additional blessing. Adam Harishon did not choose a wife. Hashem gave him a wife against his will. The posuk says And He brought her to Adam (Bereishis 2:22). Later after sinning by eating from the eitz hadaas, Adam immediately blamed his wife. He said, The woman whom You gave to be with me gave me from of the tree and I ate (Bereishis 3:12). This statement is surprising for most husbands would be careful not to shift the blame to their wives even if they were guilty. Why then did Adam blame his wife? Perhaps the answer is that Adam did not appreciate her because it was not his decision to marry her.
We see from our Parsha that Hashem in his kindness hides the Divine Providence from the couple and allows them to believe that it is they who make the decision to marry. This decision carries a heavy responsibility and thus greatly strengthens the marriage.
© Efraim Levine 5761/2001