Parshas Chayei Sarah
Shalom, this week’s parshah describes the second generation of the Jewish people, with the siduch (marriage arangement) of Yitzhak (Issac) and Rivkah (Rebecca). Last week’s parshah describes the miraculous birth of Yitzhak, and concludes with him offering his life during the Akeidah. Yitzhak was 37 years old when he allowed his father Avraham (Abraham) to tie him up to be offered on the mizbai’ach (altar) on the future site of the Temple in Jerusalem. After this event the Torah informs us of the birth of Rivkah. Yitzhak’s spiritual sacrifice of his very life to sanctify Hashem’s name in the world, was the spiritual catalyst to begin his family.
To balance the gevurah (strength) of Yitzhak, he would need a wife of amazing chesed (kindness) and generosity. Avraham made his servant Eliezer swear to find a girl from Avraham’s relatives. Eliezer then loaded up ten camels with gold, silver and jewelry to travel to Aram Naharayim, to find a wife for Yitzhak. This was also an incredible sacrifice on Eliezer’s behalf. He was Avraham’s best Torah student, and hoped that his daughter would be able to marry Yitzhak.
Eliezer reached his destination and stood by a well, he then asked Hashem to hakrei (make it happen) that when the daughters of the town come to draw water; he will ask a na’arah (young girl), “please tip your jug that I may drink”. And she will reply, “Drink, and I will even water your camels.” (Bereishis/Genesis 24:14) This will be the sign that this is the girl Hashem has choosen for Yitzhak.
Before he finished speaking Rivkah was coming with a jug on her shoulders. Eliezer ran towards her, Rashi tells us the water (of the well) rose towards her. He said, “Let me sip, please, a little water from your jug.” (Bereshis/Genesis 24:17) Rivkah gave him water to drink. When he finished drinking, she said, “I will draw even for your camels until thet have finished drinking.” (Bereshis/Genesis 24:19)
What created the circumstances, where Hashem revealed himself so completely to Eliezer? He merited to see this revelation, because he had given up all his personal desires. He wanted his own daughter to be married to Yitzhak, but sacrificed this to do what was best for his master Avraham.
Rivkah herself merited for Hashem to reveal her as the marriage partner for Yitzhak. There is a machloket (disagreement) among Chazal (Our Sages of Blessed Memory) of Rivkah’s age. One opinion says three years old, and the other opinion is thirteen years old. Also her father, Betuel and her brother, Lavan; were both extremely wicked. Rivkah despite being very young, and raised in a home of very wicked people; had an incredible amount of inherent kindness.
It shows us that greatest requires neither an advanced age of wisdom, or a holy upbringing, or even a high position in the world. Eliezer was a slave, and a descendant of Canaan, who was cursed by his father Noach (Noah). Rivkah was very young, and raised in a family only concerned with material gain. Yet they both created an incredible revelation of Hashem in the world, by simply caring for the welfare of others before themselves. And this began the second generation of the Jewish people. It is within all of our capability to perform little acts of kindness, and we never know, what incredible effects it will have on the world.
Have a great week,
23rd Chesvan 5771