"A nd all [Yaakov’s] sons and all his daughters got up to comfort him.” (Bereishis 37:35)

Rashi quotes Rabi Nechemia saying the daughters refer to his daughters-in-law, who were Canaanite women.

One can wonder how the Shevatim married women from Canaan, since Avraham was insistent on sending Eliezer to Charan so that Yitzchak wouldn’t marry a woman from Canaan. Furthermore, Rivkah tells Yitzchak (27:46): “I am disgusted with my life because of the daughters of Ches.” She therefore sent Yaakov to her family to find a wife. So how could Yaakov’s sons marry women from Canaan? (Rav Pincus, Tiferes Shimshon)

I’m a wannabe shadchan. Not a professional, but I try to help couples find each other. My track record isn’t too good, though. To date I’ve never actually brought a shidduch to the chuppah. But I’ve had some serious “parshahs” so I must be doing it almost right. Does almost count in shidduchim?

I’ve been working on Shimon for ages. He’s a brilliant older bochur who learns in my husband’s chaburah.

Shimon always listens respectfully to my suggestions, but never pursues them. Finally, one Friday night, I decided to find out why.

It appears that what the Canaan women lacked did not make them unworthy of being wives for the holy Avos. Rather, they weren’t worthy of being the matriarchs of Klal Yisrael. Yitzchak’s and Yaakov’s wives were destined to be the Imahos of Klal Yisrael, but bnei Yaakov’s wives were not.

“Okay, Shimon, tell me what’s wrong with the names I’ve given you so far.”

“Nothing is wrong. They’re just not for me.”

“But why?”

“I can’t pinpoint it. I’ll know when I get it.”

I wasn’t buying these vague disclaimers.

“You’re a master at languages. Give me an adjective. The girls were lacking.…”


“IQ? That’s an adjective?”

“Brains. Brilliance.”

“I hear you. I haven’t exactly set you up with morons. They’ve all been girls with degrees who are holding down respectable jobs.”

“Yes, but none of them could keep up with me when the discussion got complicated!”

“But Shimon, you’re not looking for a second-seder chavrusa.”

“I need her to be able to talk with me! To understand if I mention Brexit and Kuhn in the same breath.”

That you’re going to sit there at suppertime discussing Einstein’s quantum theory?”

He shifted awkwardly.

“What about supper itself? A girl who’s pondering Plato may not notice that the potatoes are burning.”

“Burned food is better than burnout.”

“And what happens later? She’s finally about to write her thesis on Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science, but there’s three little pitzkelach at home and they simply can’t understand why Mommy can’t spend time with them because she’s busy with Kant. Listen, I’m all for wise women. But I’m simply not comfortable when someone narrows down shidduch requirements to brains.”

“I hear that. But I just can’t spend hours talking to someone who can’t keep up with me.”

To support this concept we see that the only one of the Shevatim who did not marry a woman from Canaan was Yosef. He married Osnas, the daughter of Dina. Yosef was also considered a patriarch, since two shevatim descended from him. Therefore, it was essential that his wife was worthy of being a matriarch.

I empathized with Shimon’s frustration. Yet I wondered how realistic he was being. A potential partner for life needed to be a lot more than a riveting conversationalist. I wondered if I knew any girls who majored in philosophy, with a minor in early childhood education.

The next night, I was dashing around trying to get the kids into bed before PTA.

“C’mon, Yitzi! Pick a bedtime book!”

We settled into the couch with a dog-eared copy of Go Dog Go.

As he flipped the well-worn pages, I was soothed by his warm little body nestled into mine and the familiar rhythm of the lyrics we both knew by heart. It was kinda pathetic that my reading repertoire the last decade has been dictated by Dr. Seuss and P.D. Eastman, not PhDs.

But I wouldn’t trade these moments for all the degrees out there. I hope Shimon finds someone who can do this as well.

Go Mommy Go (Originally featured in Family First, Issue 570)