Saturday, November 10, 2012

He seemed like such a nice guy...

Yes, I know that we are past Chaye Sara and into Toldos, but since we will be seeing Rivka's relatives again in Vayetze, I thought this would be a good time to talk about Besuel.
Besuel was Rivka's father and Avraham's cousin.  When Eliezer was sent to look for a wife, he met Rivka who not only gave him a drink, but quenched the thirst of his ten camels (no eay task even for ONE camel.)  Since she seemed like a nice girl, and was related to Avraham's family, Eliezer went to her house to finalize the marraige.
And here's where the Midrash gets in the way.
According to the p'shat, Besuel's family gives Rivka up without a fight, simply saying, "OK, if that's what G-d wants, we have no argument.  But let's get Rivka's permission, since, it is, after all, her life."  (Pretty enlightened for Mesopotamia circa 3,000 years BCE).  However, they do want a few days to say goodbye, which, again, does not seem unreasonable since she's going to be moving from Mesopotamia to Israel and the invention of Skype is still several millenia off.  However, according to Rav Becahye and the Baal HaTurim, Besuel is not the kindly father who permits  his daughter's marriage to his cousin's only legitimate son.  He's EEEEVIIIILLLL!  We're talking murderer-evil!  We're talking trying to poison Eliezer so Besuel could rob him evil.  However, the good fairies angels turned the tables on Besuel--literally.  They turned the tray so that Besuel was poisoned by his own tainted meal.  Why?  Because Besuel doesn't say anything after giving permission for the marriage to proceed.  Therefore, he must be dead!  Why was he dead?  Poisoning comes to mind.  And, since no servant of Avraham would carry a poison ring, he must have been poisoned by his own family.  Guess Yishmael wasn't the only rotten apple on the family tree.  But if they're so EEEEVIIIILLLL, why would any man, in this right mind, want the daughter of a murderous family to marry his son?
Wow.  Here we have a family that has a daughter nice enough to water ten thirsty camels--without being asked--and she's the spawn of murderers!  And they seemed like such nice people!

1 comment:

  1. There is a also a nice midrash somewhere ( and forgive me for not giving the exact source) that Rivka was running away from home because she turned three and girls back then were raped by their fathers when they turned three, somehow making them marriageable.


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