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Shabbat Parashat Toldot 5779

Parashat Hashavua: On Weddings, Social Connections, and Related Dangers

Harav Yosef Carmel

The Chitite people who lived in Chevron helped Avraham buy Me’arat Hamachpela from Ephron the Chitite. The p’sukim (Bereishit 23:3-20) stress in several places the involvement of this group in all elements of the interaction between the two. We find the Nation of Chet in this week’s parasha as well. Yitzchak’s son Eisav married two Chitite women: Yehudit the daughter of Be’eiri the Chitite, and Bosmat the daughter of Eilon the Chitite (ibid. 26:34).

It is possible to surmise that the good relations that developed with the Chitites in the framework of the buying of Me’arat Hamachpela eventually led to Avraham’s grandson’s marriages to two members of that nation. Who knows if they were not even relatives of Ephron?

At first glance, these marriages foretold positive developments, which are hinted at a few times. Eisav got married when he was 40, which was the same age as Yitzchak, which shows how he emulated his father (Midrash Aggada, Toldot 26:34). The name of his first wife, Yehudit, may hint that this Chitite family might have entered the circles of the forefathers and their disciples of believers in Hashem. This is along the lines of the midrash (Sechel Tov, Toldot 26:34), that she (Yehudit) was given a good name. The name of the second wife, Bosmat (similar to besamim), also hints at a good smell, which is associated with good deeds.

The names of the fathers of the wives of Eisav also are found in Tanach in positive contexts. Be’eri was a prophet and a leader of the Tribe of Reuven, and is most famous as the father of the prophet Hoshea (see Hoshea 1:1; Divrei Hayamim I, 5:6). Eilon is one of the judges, and hailed from the Tribe of Zevulun (Shoftim 12:11).

Unfortunately, all the above indications were of help only on face value. Chazal tell us that these women were like pigs – their kosher attributes were on the outside, while their internal characteristics were bad.

We can demonstrate that the ends of these stories were all negative. Eisav’s second wife was also the grandmother of Amalek, whose relationship with our people is well known. Yehudit was not very “Jewish” in her actions, as the children of Eisav did not know how to build on the positive elements of their lineage.

The clear conclusion is that the Nation of Israel has a special task to be a light unto the nations and impact positively on others with their actions. It is critical to avoid being a hypocrite. Receiving benefits from those who impact dangerously on our nation can bring horrible results.

Let us pray that we will be able to spread Torah from Zion and the word of Hashem from Jerusalem in a manner that will bring only spiritual improvement and increased light.


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