This week’s parsha covers the building of the Mishkan. At the center of the bustle is Bitzalel, the great-grandson of Calev.
“You remember the dvar Torah about Calev and Miriam, right?” Dear Dad asks me.
I fumble about in the old mental attic for a bit, finally surfacing with the right item. “He married her when he was eight and she was 55 because she was a chesed case and he needed to do a good deed for the day?”
Essentially. At 55, Miriam had an unhealthy complexion (acne, maybe?) or sickly pallor, or something like that, and nobody wanted to marry her. So Calev did.
“Maybe there’s a message in there for you,” my father jokes.
I ponder the matter. “You mean that I should find a worthy but desperate 55-year-old and marry him?”
It’s not a terrible idea. There are a number of benefits to marrying older men. For starters, they’re already mature. You don’t have to make the gamble that they’ll finally grow up when they hold their first child in their hands and feel this new thing called responsibility. Also, they’re usually settled and often financially secure. And finally, since you probably constitute their midlife crisis, you don’t have to worry about that one.
“No,” my father interrupts my calculations. “I meant find an eight-year-old boy and marry him.”
An eight-year-old boy? I tried to think of some benefits to marrying an eight-year-old, but come up blank. Eight is smack in the stage where those adorable round-faced boys start stretching out like rubber bands. It’s also that obnoxious age when they fervently believe that girls have cooties and are unspeakably gross. (Exactly how would I convince one to marry me?) And then you have to live with him through his acne and teen angst, and attend his PTA. And, dear God, you have to throw his bar mitzvah. I can just imagine the embarrassment involved in that one. “You have to pretend to be my mother, okay? Nobody else in my class is married.”
No, definitely no.