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When seeking a spouse, be sure to look for family values and attributes such as kindness, patience, humility, and generosity. Don’t be blinded by good looks and bank accounts.

By Rabbi Ari Enkin, Rabbinic Director, United with Israel

This week’s Torah portion is “Chayei Sarah” (Genesis 23:1–25:18), and for those who are familiar with “Fiddler on the Roof,” this Torah portion is the Torah portion of “Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match…” This is because we read how Abraham sends Eliezer to find a wife for his son, Isaac.

Here’s the thing: Abraham gives Eliezer but one quality to look for in the wife he selects for Isaac, namely, that she come from Abraham’s own family. Indeed, he makes Eliezer “swear” that he will not take a wife for Isaac from among the local Canaanites. He must travel to Abraham’s birthplace and seek a wife for Isaac there.

There is no mention of looks, wealth, or university degrees. All Abraham cares about is that she comes from a good family, and in that time and place, this essentially meant that the girl had to be a relative of Abraham.

Unfortunately, many people forget that this may very well be the most important thing that we should be looking for in the search for a spouse. Sure, personality and looks are important, among so many other qualities, but Abraham teaches us what should be at the top of the list: that the spouse come from a good family.

Those who come from healthy and happy families generally create their own healthy and happy families and produce children who are healthy and happy. Children who grow up in a healthy environment mature into healthy adults. Healthy adults make the best marriage partners. Those who come from unstable and problematic backgrounds will often have a marriage that is unstable and problematic as well. No, not always. But the concern is legitimate.

The Canaanites were immoral. Abraham’s family lived to a higher standard.

Abraham was very careful regarding who was suitable for Isaac. Isaac was going to be the next Patriarch of the Jewish people!

Now, although YOUR son/daughter/grandson may not be the future leader of our nation, he or she should be treated as such! We should treat our children just like Abraham treated his. Our kids deserve no less than the examples that the Patriarchs set for us.

So, when seeking a spouse, be sure to look for family values and attributes such as kindness, patience, humility, and generosity. Don’t be blinded by good looks and bank accounts.

For more insights by Rabbi Enkin on this week’s Torah portion, click on the links below:

https://unitedwithisrael.org/living-torah-matchmaking-according-to-jewish-values/

https://unitedwithisrael.org/beauty-vs-spirituality/