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All in the Family

Riki Goldstein

She’s your grandmother — and also your mother-in-law. He’s your cousin — and your husband. Couples share what it’s like to marry relatives and create doubly entwined family trees.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

His widowed mother married a man from Canada who had several children. After the chasunah, Dovid’s mother and younger siblings moved up to Canada as part of a new “blended family.” Dovid, however, continued on at yeshivah, spending most of his time away from home. A year later, when Dovid was spending Yom Tov with his family, his older sister suggested a shidduch: their new stepsister Sorah, who was home from seminary. “You two would make a great couple,” she said. Before sitting in for a date, Dovid consulted his rebbeim. They were all for the idea, telling him that he was blessed to find a fine, suitable girl from a wonderful family without a long, drawn-out search. “Of course, we knew people would talk,” says Dovid. “Especially as we were both 19. But you cannot run away from the one you feel is your bashert because of possible gossip.” People did talk. But Dovid and Sorah say there was only curiosity and interest, no malicious or unpleasant rumors. Shidduchim within the family are not without precedent. In his commentary to parshas Chayei Sarah, Rabbeinu Bechaye mentions that it is praiseworthy to arrange marriages within the family, in the style practiced by our Avos, who all married relatives. As the Yiddish saying on this subject runs: “If the marriage material is good, why let it out of the family? And if it’s bad, let’s keep it within the family.”

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