Sign up to TorahFax


Thursday, Mar-Cheshvan 25, 5781 / November 12, 2020


In this week’s Parsha, Chayei Sarah, after describing how Abraham purchased the burial plot and buried his wife, Sarah, the Torah tells us how Abraham went about to find a wife for his son, Isaac.


Abraham calls his trusted servant, Eliezer, and tells him, “Go to my country and to my family and take a wife for my son Yitzchak (Isaac)." Eliezer took 10 camels loaded with goods and went to Abraham's birth-place, Aram-Naharaim. He stopped at a well when the women go out to draw water.


Not knowing anyone there, Eliezer devised a test to determine which girl would be suitable for Yitzchak and prayed to G-d for success. "I will stand by the well, let it come to pass that the girl to whom I say, 'Lower your pitcher so that I may drink' and she will answer, 'Drink and I will give your camels to drink too,' she will be the one You have chosen for Yitzchak."


The Torah continues: "Before he finished praying, Rivkah came out with her pitcher on her shoulder. Eliezer ran to meet her and said, 'Give me a little water to drink from your pitcher.'  She replied, 'Drink, my lord,’ and she hastened and let down her pitcher upon her hand and gave him to drink. Then she said, 'Also for your camels I will draw until they have finished drinking.'"


Eliezer gave her gifts and after obtaining her family's permission, he took Rivkah back with him to Yitzchak. When Yitzchak met Rivkah, "Yitzchak brought her into the tent of his mother Sarah and she became his wife; and he loved her and Yitzchak was comforted for his mother."


Matches are made in heaven. Our sages say, "Forty days before the formation of a child it is announced in heaven that the daughter of this one will marry this one." Although matches are made in heaven, we have to do our part, as the saying goes, "G-d helps those who help themselves."


Q. Why did Eliezer devise this kind of a test to know whom to choose for a wife for Yitzchak?


A. Abraham and Sarah were known for their kindness and generosity. Their home was open to everyone. Eliezer knew that the most important quality Yitzchak would be looking for in a wife would be generosity and kindness. Thus, he devised a sign in which the girl would be extremely generous and offer more than was asked of her.


This story is told in the Torah in great detail. It teaches us the true foundation for a successful marriage and building a Jewish home. Eliezer's greatest concern was that Yitzchak's wife should be kind and generous.  He knew that if she had these qualities, the rest would fall into place.


Our sages say, "The world stands on three foundations: The study of Torah; The service of G-d; Acts of kindness." So too, the foundation of a Jew's personal world (i.e. the home) must be built upon the above three foundations; Torah, the service of G-d, generosity and kindness.