My blog post might be too long for you, and it is. Believe me. I wrote it! That’s why I’ve divided it into multiple parts

Chayei Sarah Parsha Map - Story 31 - Isaac Meets Rebecca
Chayei Sarah Parsha Map – Story 31 – Isaac Meets Rebecca

Part Two, let’s call it: “I am just a boy in front of a girl, and a bunch of camels”

I have divided the story into two parts because the first one is all about “Finding Rebecca”, but now we go to the “what if they don’t like each other” section of the narrative.


They could end up just as friends? Or hate each other? Or maybe they are lucky and they manage to make it happen! So, my friends, that is what came to be… They made it happen. But before that, here is another little piece of information that we get from the text:


Isaac is finally a part of the story by his action. He went out to the field. He saw Camels.
At the same time, Rebecca saw a man and got off her camel. When she was told that the man was no one else but Isaac, she covered her face with her veil. And then the story skips most of the pleasantries and the awkwardness of the first meeting and the gossipy details that Eliezer could have said to them. Additionally, there is no Abraham here.. the master is now Isaac!


וַיְבִאֶ֣הָ יִצְחָ֗ק הָאֹ֙הֱלָה֙ שָׂרָ֣ה אִמּ֔וֹ וַיִּקַּ֧ח אֶת־רִבְקָ֛ה וַתְּהִי־ל֥וֹ לְאִשָּׁ֖ה וַיֶּאֱהָבֶ֑הָ וַיִּנָּחֵ֥ם יִצְחָ֖ק אַחֲרֵ֥י אִמּֽוֹ׃ {פ} 
Isaac then brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah, and he took Rebekah as his wife. Isaac loved her and thus found comfort after his mother’s death.

This part… I love this part! Because he loved her.

This is the first time in the Torah that romantic love is mentioned. Or I like to think that it is romantic love. Because we know already that “to know” someone means something else. And here the text is not “And then he knew her and took her for his wife”. They first went into the tent and we know what happens there. They get to know each other. And then we are told that He loved her. It was not just a marriage for the sake of having a wife and kids. It was love.


This story is a lot shorter, but with a romantic plot twist at the end, “Nora Ephron Style” – Oh!!! Maybe that’s why he (Ephron, son of Zohar, the Hittite) was mentioned at the beginning of the Parsha, foreshadowing, – a prophecy of sorts – about many romantic comedies to come!


Think about it. We are reading this Parsha in the Autumn. It is a love story. Long-distance love. Family issues, Sad background (dead mom) a friend playing the role of the matchmaker (ok, not a friend, a servant) and one strong lead female character that has agency, and takes charge of her life!Is Sleepless in Seatle a re-telling of “How Isaac met Rebecca”?

Should we try to prove or disproof the validity and value of the stories because they are not consistent with archaeological findings? Or even consistent with itself, as was the case with Noah? Nah… who cares! Maybe they had donkeys or mules. The point here is that Camels represent both wealth and the ability to travel long distances. You don’t take a camel to go to the next town. You don’t go across the Arabian peninsula on foot, then you take a camel. It is the biblical equivalent of “I walked to her place” vs “I flew all the way there to see her”. So, Camels are important. Abraham had money. And Eliezer travelled far to meet Rebecca


This is the original Nora Ephron Autumn story! I know about them because of Alma magazine, but have no idea what the whole meme-trend was about. Let’s take a quick detour and talk about those camels… Well, someone checked some bones, and did some math, and then more bones and then more math and figured out that camels, as important as they are on these stories, are an anachronism. There were no Camels in the patriarch’s time. Does that change the meaning of the text?


Once again, comments, recommendations, critiques  and/or anything you might want to share with me regarding the maps, let me know here or on Instagram (@torahmaps)
Your favourite Mapper (or digital Cartographer),
Lucas

To go to one of the additional posts from this Parsha, follow the links:

  • – Parshat Chayei Sarah

  • – Story 29 – Burial of Sarah

  • – Story 30 – Finding Becky

  • – Story 31 – Isaac Meets Rebecca

  • – Story 32 – Abraham’s Offspring
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