Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Eliezer's search for a wife for Yitzchak

My son needs a dvar torah on Chayei Sarah by mid-week, so I suggested he look into the parsha of Eliezer’s shlichus to find a wife for Yitzchak. Considering that Eliezer was representing one of the most noteworthy people of his time, a man who had proven himself as a warrior, a man of renowned wealth, a man of renowned piety, one would have thought that his serving as Avraham’s messenger to choose a wife for Yitzchak could not have been easier. One might imagine that all Eliezer needed to do was to announce his presence in Charan as Avraham’s representative and he would have been besieged by families desirous of a shidduch with such an illustrious family. He could spend a few weeks reviewing the candidates, choose the best one, and report home. Yet, Eliezer’s actions seem to convey a surprising sense of worry, a hurried urgency that suggests he was unsure of success and wanted to get his mission over as soon as possible:

1) Not satisfied that he is backed by the tefilos of Avraham, the tzadik hador, Eliezer davens to Hashem for help with this shidduch as if it depended on his efforts alone.

2) Instead of interviewing many girls over time and deliberating over his choice, Eliezer davens that Hashem should present him on the day of his arrival with absolute proof of the right girl. Why not consider the candidates and think things over?

3) Eliezer benefits from “kfitzas haderech” and a journey that should have taken a long time was done in a single day. When he arrives his tefilos indicate that he wants Hashem on the spot to help him resolve the issue. What’s the hurry?

4) Strangely enough, the only obstacle that should have weighed on Eliezer’s mind goes unmentioned. Only when Rivka was already chosen and Eliezer begins speaking to Besual and Lavan do we learn that he too had a daughter who might have married Yitzchak, who he indeed hoped might marry Yitzchak, but which Avraham did not allow. Why is this fact not mentioned until after Eliezer had already chosen Rivka? And looking at the larger picture, why did Hashem arrange things in such a way that Eliezer should have a daughter of marriageable age who was rejected – wouldn’t it have been better if he did not have this temptation in his way?

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12:11 PM

    "Only when Rivka was already chosen and Eliezer begins speaking to Besual and Lavan do we learn that he too had a daughter"

    What do you mean, "only then"? This is not in the text itself, it's a midrash! When Rashi wrote it he was quoting an earlier source (the Yalkut Shimoni), how do you know that the Yalkut Shimoni intended to "insert" this knowledge in a specific place?