In Episode 10, I mention that Rivka, the woman given to Yitzchak, was only 3 years old when Avraham’s anonymous slave found her (at least according to some traditions). Before the episode, I read a few excerpts from “Kind Little Rivka,” a cheerful children’s book that treats this union as though it’s a totally normal, OK thing. If you want to read this twisted book, order it here!
I first heard about “Kind Little Rivka” in a very thoughtful blog post by Eli Federman in the Jewish Daily Forward, in which he puts the story in perspective, quoting modern statistics about child brides:
I never expected a kids book to glorify underage marriage. Children are enslaved in marriages, abused, tortured and killed. According to the organization Girls Not Brides, every year an estimated “14 million girls are married before they turn 18. Robbed of their childhood, denied their rights to health, education and security.”
In the book, Rivka helps a blind woman, gives up her seat, and waters thirsty animals.
These are all benign acts of kindness — but they culminate in a 3-year-old girl’s marriage to a man 10 times her age. I don’t want my little daughter thinking that underage marriage, in any context, is ever acceptable. Period.
You should read the rest of the article. It’s a very interesting take from an observant Jew on what happens when people transmit the unseemlier parts of the Bible to their children.