Friday, October 25, 2013

marriage = yismach lev m'vakshei Hashem

1) Though the Ishbitzer on this week’s parsha uses this pasuk to define a different relationship, I want to borrow his thought and apply it to marriage.  The pasuk (it’s actually the end of a pasuk) is, “Yismach lev mivakshei Hashem” (Teh 105:3).  Notice that “lev” is in the singular, but “mevakshei” is in the plural.  There are two people, each being “mevakeish Hashem” in their own way, but the lev is one. 

2) “V’hinei Rivka yotzeis asher yuldah l’Besuel…” (24:15)

The word “hinei” signals a deviation from the norm.  In last week’s parsha when the malachim came to Avraham’s home and asked where Sarah was Avraham answered, “hinei ba’ohel,” because normally she was out serving the guests herself (Netziv) – her being inside out of view was out of the norm.  Here, R’ Shteinman in his Ayeles haShachar quotes the Malbi”m who suggests that there were servants who usually went out to draw water.  It was completely out of the norm for Rivka to go out herself.
3) I want to discuss a second question R’ Shteinman asks: why does the pasuk uses the circuitous verbiage of “asher yadlah l’Besuel” instead of just saying “bas Besuel?”  R’ Shteinman does not offer an answer, but the Kedushas Levi discusses this point a few times in this week’s parsha and gives it enormous significance.  I’ve been struggling with understanding the concept and finding a way to present it and don’t know if I will have any success, but I’ll try:
Just like in the material world we know a rising tide lifts all boats, the same is true in spiritual worlds as well.  When a person does a mitzvah, it doesn’t just effect his personal bank account of zechuyos, but it brings more spiritual energy into the world as a whole and makes it a better place (better = closer to Hashem). 

L’havdil, if a movie star is seen wearing a green dress, suddenly everyone wants to wear a green dress or a green shirt.  All the designers start making green clothes; all the stores feature green in their windows.  The world becomes a different world.

In a similar way, if someone is a great ba’al chessed, he releases chessed energy into the world.  We don’t see it like we see the green dress, but the energy is out there and our neshomos are tuned into it.  As a result of someone’s hachna’sa orchim in New York, someone helps a friend with grocery shopping in Yerushalayim, someone helps an old lady across the street in Australia, someone smiles at his neighbor is Hong Kong.  The world is a different place; it has more chessed energy in it.

The Midrash writes about Avraham that “b’shvilo misgalgel chessed ba’olam.”  The Sefas Emes writes that “b’shvilo” here does not mean “because of him,” but rather comes from the word “shvil,” path.  There has to be a path for the shefa, the energy, upstairs to get down here.  If we want chessed to flow down to us from upstairs, then we need to become ba’alei chessed, and midah k’neged midah we will get the same in return.  Avraham’s practice of chessed opened a path, or in his case, a superhighway, for chessed to come down into the world. 

Rivka may have been the biological daughter of Besuel, but her spiritual father was Avraham Avinu.  A neshoma like hers that is so instilled with the trait of chessed could only come into the world on that superhighway that Avraham Avinu opened.  Rivka was “yuldah l’Besuel,” she happened to be born biologically to him, but she was really a daughter of Avraham.
(And for those thinking ahead to next week, that phrases "Yizchak ben Avraham" and "Avraham holid es Yitzchak" based on this approach are clearly not synonomous.

4) Rashi (24:7) notes that when Avraham administers his oath to Eliezer not to take a Canaanite wife for Yitzchak, he refers to G-d as "Elokei hashamayim v'Elokei ha'aretz," but when he refers to G-d who took him out of his homeland, he uses the expression "Elokei hashamayim" alone.  Avraham was telling Eliezer, explains Rashi, that because of his teaching efforts everyone now knows that G-d is king over both heaven and earth, but originally, when Avraham first came on the scene, G-d was king in heaven but unknown by people on earth. 

Why does Avraham choose this moment to make this point to Eliezer?  Does he need to boast of his accomplishments, does he need to tell Eliezer, his faithful servant, that he is the one who taught the world about G-d?

The idea here (see Shem m'Shmuel) perhaps is that without an Avraham Avinu, the realms of heaven and earth, material and spritual, would be worlds apart.  Avraham was the first shadchan; he brought them together.  It was that koach that he had brought into the world that he was giving over to Eliezer to help him bring together Yitzchak and Rivka.

1 comment: