This content is part of a series.
Choose Wisely (1 of 4)
Series: Love and Marriage
The German philosopher and scholar, Moses Mendelssohn (1729-86), was born a hunchback. Despite this deformity, which could have soured him on life forever, Mendelssohn was known as a wise and humble man.
While on a trip to Hamburg as a young man, Mendelssohn met a rich merchant who had a beautiful, young daughter, Frumtje. The young man fell hopelessly in love with her. She too was mature beyond her years, and despite his obvious physical defect, she was attracted to his gentleness, his charm, and his brilliant mind.
Mendelssohn stayed several weeks in Hamburg, spending much of his time with this lovely girl he had fallen in love with at first sight. When it finally came time to leave, he worked up enough nerve to speak to her father. It was either that or lose her forever.
The rich and powerful merchant hesitated for a long time. Mendelssohn finally asked him to speak his thoughts frankly.
''Well,'' said the older man, ''you are known throughout Germany as a most brilliant young man. And yet... I must tell you my child was a bit frightened when she first saw you.''
''Because I am a hunchback?''
Sadly, the merchant nodded.
Downcast, but not defeated, Mendelssohn asked only one last favor - the privilege of seeing her once more before he left. Admitted to her room, he found her busy with needlework. He spoke at first of various matters, then carefully and gradually, he led the conversation to the subject that was nearest to his heart. ''Do you believe, that marriages are made in heaven?''
''Yes,'' she said, ''for that is our faith.''
''And it is true,'' he said gently. ''Now let me tell you about something strange that happened when I was born. As you know, at a child's birth, according to our tradition, they call out in heaven that the birth has occurred. And when it is a boy, they announce, 'Such and such boy will have this or that girl for a wife.'
''Well, t ...
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