- Written by Benji Landau
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The Posuk here describing Rivka’s origins seems to be superfluous seeing as we already know her background from earlier Parshas. Rashi picks up on the apparent redundancy and explains that the Torah wishes to inform us that even though Rivka’s father was an evil man, her brother was an evil man and the people of her town were evil, she did not learn from their ways and remained a righteous woman.
The Mizrachi asks a very straightforward and rather obvious question. Why would the Torah need to use so many words to demonstrate Rivka’s saintliness, we would have appreciated this anyway being that Yitzchak deemed her worthy of being his wife; he surely would not have chosen her as his wife if she did not contain the necessary elements of righteousness -?-
The Mizrachi answers that it is true that we would have known the extent of Rivka’s righteousness, but we would not have understood how much the Torah wants to praise her and put emphasis on making it known exactly what type of person she is and the degree of her righteousness. For this we need the extra words in our Posuk.
The Maharal in the Gur Aryeh asks further. Once the Torah has praised her righteousness despite her evil father, why is it necessary for the Torah to then stress that she was righteous in the face of her brother and the people in her town. Surely the point is already clear by contrasting her qualities to the wickedness of her father. What further idea is developed by contrasting Rivka to her brother and the people in her home-town?
The Maharal answers as follows. There are three reasons why a person may be influenced by others to act in an evil way. 1. Out of fear of a person, 2. out of love for a person and 3. they are merely following the local trend. The Maharal explains that Rivka may have been led to sin in all three ways. She may have followed the ways of her father out of fear of him. Similarly, since sibling relationships are to a great extent based on love, she may have followed her brother Lavan. Finally, she may simply have acted in accordance with local tendencies and been led to act in an evil way.
By writing all three descriptions in the Posuk, the Torah is teaching us three separate and unrelated levels to Rivka’s righteousness.