The Twice-Told Story of Choosing a Wife for Isaac

In this week’s Torah reading, Abraham tasks his servant Eliezer with traveling to Abraham’s homeland (northern Mesopotamia) to select a wife for his son Isaac. Eliezer serendipitously meets Rebecca at a well and is taken to her family’s home. There he presents a marriage proposal, and in doing so he retells the story—previously told by the narrator—of Abraham’s assignment to him and of his encounter with Rebecca at the well. There are numerous differences between Eliezer’s account and the earlier one, and these have been subjected to careful analysis by such great rabbinic commentators as Isaac Abarbanel (1437–1508) and Samuel David Luzzatto (1800–1865), as well as by modern academic scholars. These differences, however, were either ignored or dismissed by the major medieval commentators, generally known for their meticulousness and their focus on the plain-sense reading of the text (p’shat). Martin Lockshin explains why:

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Read more at theTorah.com

More about: Abraham, Biblical commentary, Genesis, Hebrew Bible, Midrash, Rashbam

The Attack on the Colleyville Synagogue and the Battle of Narratives

Jan. 21 2022

In the aftermath of high-profile, violent incidents in the U.S., there is virtually always a national attempt to blame one or the other major political party. Dominic Green, considering the recent hostage-taking at a Colleyville, Texas synagogue, notes that while political discussions of this type may not matter much to the victims of any given attack, they have an invidious effect on our politics. For Jewish parents worried about whether to send their kids to school, he suggests,

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Read more at Wall Street Journal

More about: American Jewry, Anti-Semitism, U.S. Politics