‘Rough Diamonds’ Season 1: Why Does Gila Marry Noah Instead Of Yehuda?


Gila was one of the most tragic figures in “Rough Diamonds” Season 1. Throughout, she struggled to find a place of her own in the world and in people’s lives where she could belong. She had been engaged to Noah, but he had abandoned the engagement and run away. This happened when she was just 20 years old. Throughout the series, we see a very meek and subdued Gila. But Noah mentions that she was not always like this, especially when she was young. He described her as “wilder than him.” From his statement, we can understand that Gila might have wanted a certain kind of life, and as much as she loved Noah, she knew that marrying him would also enable her to live a life where she could do whatever she wanted since he was not a traditional man. When he left her behind, Gila went on to marry Yanki, but it was never a successful marriage due to the circumstances in which it happened. We don’t know what kind of man Yanki was, but we can guess that he might not have been as “modern” as Noah.

After Yanki’s death, when Noah came back into her life, she found her old feelings returning. Noah must have felt that too, and that meant there was always tension between them. But neither of them had the freedom to act on it because their community would frown upon such a relationship. During this time, Gila is approached by a matchmaker to find a husband for her next marriage. From what we could glean, we understood that the Yiddish community is extremely patriarchal, and women usually don’t have the means to be independent. Adina was a glaring example, but even she pointed out at the beginning of “Rough Diamonds” that she had to fight tooth and nail with her grandfather to get into the business. Even then, in many instances, she found the business closed off to her due to the dominance of the men there.

Gila was one of the women who was never able to shake off the shackles of the patriarchy. But the heart wants what it wants. When Noah came back into her life, she couldn’t help but fall in love with him again. We see that she gets jealous when she learns about Noah’s involvement with Marie. She never explicitly confronts him about it, but it is a signal to her that life and people won’t stop for her the way she does for them. We believe that Gila never had much independence in life, which went against her real nature, to begin with. When she took the kids to the movie theatre, it was such a novel experience for her, despite it being such a simple thing. Yanki may or may not have been a good husband to her, but patriarchy breeds loneliness with its rules. By denying her such simple joys, Gila had never managed to be happy or get over the life she had lost when Noah left her.

Lucky for Gila, the prospects she meets for her second marriage are decent people. When she went on her first date, I was scared as to what might happen since I did not read Gila as a woman who could assertively say no. Lucky for her, the man understood her predicament and realized that she was not up for marriage herself. The next person Gila meets is Yehuda. To be honest, I don’t know what she had in common with him other than grief. Every time they met, that was what they spoke about. But Yehuda wanted to marry Gila because he saw the possibility of a future with her. He was a good match, better than most others, and a marriage with him, along with a move to New York, would give her the level of freedom that she had always wanted in life. She could get the same with Noah as well, but he was not a dependable man, and Gila did not want to deal with the disappointment of placing her trust in him. She had gotten used to sadness, and she knew how to live with it. That sadness would continue with her marriage to Yehuda since they both knew what to expect from each other. But coming to Noah, she would be all in due to her love for him, and if he let her down, her heart would not be able to piece itself together again.

Yet, for a moment, Gila decides to listen to her heart and just be with Noah. They even make plans to run away together. But when she sees him with his family, having found his place in the world, she knows there is no taking him away from it all. He would always be connected to them, and she would just be an unwanted accessory due to the strict rules of the Yiddish community. It wasn’t about Noah as much as it was about her place in the grand scheme of things. Whether she liked it or not, she could only find a station in life if she was married. Her place in the family depended on the man she tied herself to. Her being single for a long time was not an option. She knew that being with Yehuda would afford her far more stability and respect. As for love, she had probably learned to live without it so much that she didn’t take it much into consideration. But Yehuda was a good man, and New York was a freer place than Antwerp. Maybe the wedding is the best thing for her, one that will allow her to finally breathe without the crushing weight of the duties and expectations she has always had to carry.

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Divya Malladi
Divya Malladi
Divya spends way more time on Netflix and regrets most of what she watches. Hence she has too many opinions that she tries to put to productive spin through her writings. Her New Year resolution is to know that her opinions are validated.

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