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    Finding a wife – Chayyei Sarah

    Eliezer meeting Rebekah, Isaac's future wife, by Gustave Dore

    So much effort was invested by Abraham and his trusted servant Eliezer in finding a wife for Isaac (Gen. 24).

    It is characteristic of Biblical history that parents played a large role in marrying off their children.

    Rabbinic sources tell the same story for their period. The Talmud indeed regards as almost delinquent a couple who do not exert themselves properly to find partners for their children.

    In the Middle Ages and later, the work of the matchmaking profession expressed how much importance the two sets of parents placed upon their children marrying well.

    When, though, we jump across the centuries to our own day we often find that children robustly reject their parents’ alleged interference in such matters.

    “It’s none of your business,” we hear; “I don’t want any of your meddling. I’ll tell you when there is something for you to know!”

    We must have sympathy with the children, who live in an open society and make their own decisions about so many things, but there is a case for the parents too.

    Having personal experience of marriage gives them insights which their children will only develop with time. Even parents whose own marriages did not succeed will argue that they don’t want their children to make the mistakes they did.

    One of the major problems of today’s generation gap is for parents and children to work out the structure of their relationship. It doesn’t help for either side to tell the other not to mix in.

    Children can sometimes give their parents a shrewd dose of understanding and advice… and vice-versa.

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