Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Eliezer appears to Rivka

The Chidushei haRI”M teaches that a Jew may be very far from where he should be, but so long as his heart is stirred when he sees a true tzadik, there is hope.

Rivka had never before seen a tzadik. Her father Besuel was not a role model, her brother Lavan was a rasha. Can we imagine the impression that Eliezer would have made on her? Chazal describe Eliezer, “Hamoshel b’chol asher lo – she’haya moshel b’yitzro,” as someone in complete control over his yetzer hara, as someone who was, “doleh u’mashkeh,” who drew forth his rebbe Avraham’s torah and taught it to others. Rav Wolfson in his sefer Emunas I'techa writes that when Rivka reported back to her family what transpired at the well it was not simply tidings of her potential engagement, but rather it was news of how Eliezer spoke, how Eliezer behaved, as this is what captivated her. We see this clearly from the reaction of Lavan to her words –

“Ki’r'os es ha’nezem v’es hatzmidim al y’dei achoso” – When he saw the rings and jewelry on her hands… According to the letter of the law (not halacha l’ma’aseh) women are not permitted to wear jewelry on Shabbos because the halacha assumes that they will show their rings off to neighbors and end up carrying the jewelry in hand. Lavan saw that the new jewelry Eliezer had given his sister was still on her hands – Rivka had not removed the rings to show them to her family, as these trinkets made no impression on her.

Uk’sham’o… ‘Ko dibeir eilei ha’ish’” – When he heard his sister relating not only what Eliezer had said, but how he spoke, his mannerisms, his refinement, as these were the things which had made an impression on her, Lavan seized the opportunity and ran out to greet Eliezer, thinking that if his sister was naïve and blind to the opportunity to fleece this stranger for all he was worth, he would certainly take advantage of the situation.

Rashi writes that the gift of the “shtei tzimidim” that Eliezer gave Rivka represents the two luchos of the aseres hadibros. In the context of Rivka’s receiving the tzimidim, the word is spelled with an extra letter yud, alluding to the dibros. However, when describing the jewelry seen by Lavan, the same word “tzimidim” is spelled without the extra letter yud. Same jewelry, same gift, completely different perception.

There are so many opportunities to see greatness around us, but too often we are so busy looking at the tzimidim without the extra yud that we lost sight of what is really important.

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