"And they the two Hittite women Esav married were source of bitterness to Isaac and to Rebecca" (Genesis 26:35).
The Midrash notes that the source of aggravation was because these women were idol worshipers.
The Midrash also picks up on an interesting detail in the verse. It doesn't say they were a source of bitterness to Isaac and Rebecca - but that they were a source of bitterness to Isaac and to Rebecca. Based on this, the Midrash teaches that Isaac was provoked first and only then Rebecca was provoked. The Midrash explains that this is because Rebecca grew up in a home of idolaters, but Isaac grew up in Abraham's home.
Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski observes a deep lesson here. Rebecca has been away from her father's home for many years at this point - but because she was exposed to idolatry in her childhood, she was not as repulsed by it. The worst kinds of violence or lewdness can become less abhorrent if we are routinely exposed to it in our youth.
By Rabbi Michael Skobac
Rabbi Michael Skobac had been involved with Jews for Judaism (Canada) since 1989 and currently serves as its Director of Education and Counselling. He is a leading authority on missionaries, cults and issues relating to Jewish continuity and Jewish spirituality.
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further.NoahideAcademy.org's copyright policy.
Republished by Angelique Sijbolts with permission for the Noahide Academy.