Parshat ShavuaThis week's Torah Portion of the Week, Chayei Sara, not just reports the death of our Matriarch Sara, wife of Avraham and mother of Yitzchak. A major portion of the narrative is about how Avraham's servant, Eliezer is sent to the "old country" to bring back a wife for Yitzchak. Chazal, our sages, debate the age of Rivka, the young girl who is chosen. She is from their family and, without prompting, shows the characteristics of generosity and kindness that Eliezer knew were required.
Rivka, who according to most was very young, had been told that she was going to be taken to a new country to marry a distant relative and agreed. And from the few words in the Bible, it's clear that both Yitzchak and Rivka got to a good start in their marriage.
Reality TV Plays MatchmakerDavka, this past week I found myself watching a new series on Israeli television in which matches are made between people who have never met. People behind the scenes of this show received applications from volunteers, singles who have apparently given up finding a spouse or partner in all of the more conventional ways. The staff members are shown talking about the people whose pictures are on a table, and they explain why they think a certain two would make a good match. They are "introduced" in front of dozens of people, including family and close friends, besides the television crew, while standing under a "chuppah." And they are "sort of married" while the cameras are rolling.
They don't have a "real wedding," but the male of the duo is supposed to break a glass, as is done in Jewish weddings. And then after the party, they are sent off to Europe for a "getting to meet you" honeymoon. Yes, the camera crew follows them there, too. The photographers also follow them home as they attempt to live together, half the week in his home and half in hers, if I understood correctly.
The evening I saw this show, there were three couples. I saw them at a different stages of the process. One couple was back from their honeymoon and trying to see if it will "work." The other was on their honeymoon, and they didn't seem very happy. And the newest couple were shown having trouble from the beginning. The woman seemed to be trying very hard, according to her body language, to "make it work." The man almost stopped it entirely, since he didn't want to break the glass. He finally gave in and broke the glass. I don't know if someone who refuses to cooperate has to return money or pay expenses. This couple didn't seem very happy. And later on, maybe during the honeymoon, the woman complained that he didn't seem to be trying very hard.
Statistics show fewer married couples than ever here in Israel, percentage wise. That must be the reason that there are people, males and females willing to take such risks. Even among the very religious here, the couple get to meet before the wedding. And their families get to know each other as they plan the weddings. The third couple in the show came from very different backgrounds which didn't show up sufficiently when the staff was matching them up. There are many singles who would like to be married. I think that the Biblical Eliezer did a better job than these television people are doing, because he really knew Yitzchak and his family.