Chayei Sarah: When In-Laws Are Outlaws



A recent poll found that most people would rather pray all day Saturday in a synagogue than spend it with their in-laws.

Now that’s saying something. But why do in-laws get such a bad rap? What is the root of the volatile in-law relationship?

It turns out that the best place to look when seeking to understand the in-law dynamic is in the Torah. Yes, the all-embracing Torah even ventures into this domain.

It is a fascinating foray, brimming with nose-rings, imposters and intrigue.

And there we discover the origins of the first matchmaker (shadchan), and we learn that striking a match is a combustible experience – truly – one that can leave you burning with love or just plain burning.

But, ultimately, we walk away all the wiser, having learned that if we are on the same spiritual page, the in-law dynamic will be so positive and wonderful that it might just have to be outlawed.

It’s incredible how a butler’s journey some 3,700 years ago could change the entire face of existence, and show us how – today – we can do the same.


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