The notion that the more you know someone the uglier or prettier they can become is a very real phenomenon. Scientific research based on concepts like “propinquity,” which refers to the nearness of people to each other, suggests a person can become more or less attractive to you based on how much and how long you interact with them.
Our Torah portion this week, parshat Chayei Sarah, illustrates this. In this part of the narrative, we read about Abraham and Sarah and their journey raising their son Isaac to the huppah and a life of good deeds. Our reading begins with the death of Sarah, and Abraham looking for a proper place to lay her body to rest. Immediately after the burial of his own life partner, Abraham sets out to find a mate for his son, hoping to ensure that he has comfort and support as he mourns his mother. The text shares the story of Isaac and Rebekah meeting, marrying, and falling in love, and it ends with the death of Abraham. Within this section of text is also the building of a family for Rebekah and Isaac.
The text is clear in chapter 24, verse 67: “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.” In other words, Isaac comes to love Rebekah after he marries her. Their love is the result, not the prerequisite, of their relationship.
The Torah reminds us that relationships take time to blossom, and we are urged to take time to know one another, to truly engage face to face with those around us because that’s how meaningful connections grow.
The instantaneous attachment when parent meets child may be real, but it’s shallow and fleeting. Of course I love Shiri because she’s my daughter, but also because I’ve grown to love her as the bright, independent, beautiful spirit she’s becoming. And that’s a love that only gets bigger.
-Rabbi Eve Posen
Source: At First Sight – Parshat Chayei Sarah 5776 – Rabbi Eve Posen