Parshas Chayei Sarah

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By Rabbi Shloimie Lindenbaum

ואם לא תאבה האשה ללכת אחריך וכו’ רק את בני לא תשב שמה (פרק כד פסוק ח)

In this week’s Parsha, Avraham sends his servant Eliezer to חרן, Avraham’s birthplace, to find a wife for Yitzchak. Before sending him, Avraham makes Eliezer swear that he will not take a wife from the land of כנען. Additionally, he instructs Eliezer that even if he does find a suitable wife for Yitzchak, she must be willing to return to Avraham’s house. He makes it very clear that under no circumstances should Eliezer bring Yitzchak to her. Obviously, when looking for a wife for the son who would continue his legacy, Avraham would be very particular about her character and quality as a person, as these are details of prime importance in Avraham’s house. And yet it seems that even if Eliezer were to find someone of proper caliber it still wouldn’t be worthwhile to bring Yitzchak to her, rather Eliezer would have to look for someone else, even for someone of inferior personal quality. R’ Moshe Feinstein explains that Avraham understood the importance of surrounding oneself with good people. That is why it was imperative for Yitzchak to live near his father’s home, the bastion of righteousness in a corrupt world. This was even more important than the level of righteousness of Yitzchak’s wife. The place that a person lives and the society that they are surrounded by can be defining factors in their life.

ויברך הגמלים…לעת ערב…ויאמר… הקרה נא לפני היום…וירץ העבד לקראתה וכו’ (פרק כד פסוק יא-יז)

Eliezer arrives in חרן in search of a wife for Yitzchak and begins his search by Davening to Hashem that He enable him to complete his mission. He also asks that he should be able to discern who the correct girl is through a sign involving the girl offering water to Eliezer and his camels. Immediately afterwards he spots Rivkah and quickly runs over to her. The פסוקים go on to describe how she hastily offers water to Eliezer and his camels, fulfilling the sign to perfection, and proving to Eliezer that she is the one designated by Hashem for Yitzchak. The Brisker Rav notes how the פסוקים repeatedly stress Eliezer’s haste in approaching Rivkah and Rivkah’s haste in fulfilling the sign. He explains that this can’t merely be the פסוקים expressing her enthusiasm to do חסד because Eliezer repeats this detail to Lavan and Besuel later in the פרשה and there is no reason why they should have to know about her excitement. Rather, explains the Brisker Rav, the reason for everything happening so quickly is because Eliezer asked in his original תפילה that Hashem send the correct girl “היום”- the very same day that he arrived at the well. Additionally, the פסוק points out that he arrived close to nightfall. Therefore, for Hashem to fully answer Eliezer’s ,תפילה everything had to happen quickly so that the sign is fulfilled on the same Halachic day (before nightfall) that Eliezer arrived. This also explains why Eliezer repeated this detail to Lavan and Besuel later. He was proving to them that it was the Divine Hand that had orchestrated Eliezer finding Rivkah. This was especially evident from Rivkah’s haste, which was necessary only to fulfill Eliezer’s precise request: that she fulfill the sign that very same day.

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