To the Editor:
The reliance on the Rebecca-Isaac story as told in Genesis chapter 24, verses 15 and 62-67, as a biblical example of initial attraction of Jews for those outside the family and vice versa is misplaced.
It is clear from the text that Rebecca is part of Abraham’s (and therefore Isaac’s) extended family. Further, the claim that the story tells how " [g]ood looks always attract" and that "even the Bible says how struck Isaac was when he first set eyes on Rebecca and she was riding a camel," is not supported by the text, which in the Jewish Publication Society translation indicates that when Isaac first saw Rebecca face to face, she was veiled.
Finally, Isaac’s feelings for Rebecca are described only after they are married, "Isaac loved her …"
If the author wanted a biblical citation for love at first sight, he should have used Jacob’s initial reaction when he met Rachel at the well — but that, too, was an attraction within the extended family.