NOVEMBER 1-2, 2002 27 HESHVAN 5763
"Swear to me you will not take a Canaanite woman for my son" (Beresheet 24:2-3)
Abraham commanded Eliezer, his servant, to find a wife for Yitzhak, but not from the daughters of Canaan. He made him swear with G-d's Name that he would be faithful to his word. It is amazing to realize that Eliezer was the trusted servant of Abraham, who ran the entire household of Abraham and who was the one who faithfully transmitted all the teachings of Abraham to others. Yet when it came to finding a wife for Yitzhak, Abraham had to make Eliezer swear, and not just swear but also to use Hashem's Name in his oath.
The lesson to be derived is that when it comes to physical things, Abraham trusted Eliezer, but regarding something as important as a wife for Yitzhak, which will impact upon the future of the Jewish people, one must take any precaution possible.
When we enter business relationships or involve ourselves with any financial endeavors, we are super cautious to protect ourselves. How about if it involves verifying if something is kosher and permitted to eat, or whether one may or may not do something on Shabbat? Are we as concerned or cautious? Do we just "assume" since everyone is eating it or doing it? Seeing how Abraham put his priorities, maybe we should rearrange ours. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Shmuel Choueka
"The servant brought out objects of silver and gold and garments, and gave them to Rebecca" (Beresheet 24:53)
Sarah, our mother, passed away when Isaac was thirty-seven years old. Abraham was troubled by the thought that had Isaac been slaughtered at the Akedah, he would have left no children to succeed him. Therefore, Abraham now took it upon himself to provide for the future by finding a wife for Isaac. To make the selection, he dispatched his trusted servant, Eliezer. Eliezer found, with Hashem's guidance, Rebecca. The family approved and Eliezer gave her gifts. Included with the silver and gold were garments.
Our Sages teach us that the Torah recounts many details of this story, for in each detail is a lesson. Rabbi Y.L. Diskins asks, why did Eliezer give garments with the gold and silver? Garments are not usually given with the gold and silver. The answer is that these garments were sha'atnez-free! Rebecca would soon enter the home of Isaac, and Eliezer knew that he couldn't rely on the kashrut of the garments from her father's house. He also knew that he couldn't insult them by saying their garments were unkosher from sha'atnez. Therefore, Eliezer wisely "blended" the garments amongst the gifts. As one studies this perashah one will discover that Eliezer made a number of changes in Abraham's words in order not to embarrass the family of Laban.
This method of Eliezer teaches us a great lesson of how to behave and speak to our fellow Jews. If one is on an advanced level of observance of the Torah, one must be careful not to hurt the feelings of those that have not yet reached that level. A Jew is required to observe the misvot always, and at the same time be sensitive to the feelings of others. Find ways to do both. If one really tries, Hashem will help. Shabbat Shalom. Rabbi Reuven Semah
"And food was set before him, but he said, 'I will not eat until I have spoken my words'...And he said, 'I am Abraham's servant'" (Beresheet 24:33)
Why did Eliezer refuse to eat before telling the purpose of his trip? Eliezer took along with him people from Abraham's home to assist him and attend to the camels. When Laban heard that Eliezer gave gifts, he invited him to his house and provided straw and oats for the camels and water for Eliezer and his people to wash their feet (24:32). Afterwards, the Torah tells us, "food was placed before him." Eliezer was thinking to himself, "This Laban must be a very stingy fellow. Water, which is free, he gave for me and for all my people. However, food, which costs money, he gave only for me and not to any of my people."
Therefore he said, "I will not eat alone and let all my people stay outside with the camels. Let me first tell you the purpose of my visit and I am sure that you will then change your behavior."
Eliezer told him that the purpose of his trip was to arrange a marriage and that the hatan and his father were extremely wealthy. When Laban heard this he said to himself, "If they come home and tell Abraham and Yitzhak how I treated them, they will consider me stingy and call me a miser.
Immediately, he started acting very hospitably and gave a full meal to Eliezer and his entire company. Thus, the Torah tells us, "And he and his men who were with him ate and drank" (24:54). (Vedibarta Bam)
"And Sarah lived one hundred years, twenty years and seven years, the years of Sarah's life." (Beresheet 23:1)
Rashi explains that the Torah repeats the words "the years of Sarah's life" to teach us that they were all equal in goodness. How could we say that all her years were equally good even though she suffered many hardships during her life? For example, she was barren for many years, and she was taken captive by Pharaoh and Abimelech.
Our Rabbis explain that even though she did suffer during her lifetime, her reaction would always be that it's "all for the best." She understood that anything that Hashem brings upon us is good, even if we cannot see the goodness in an unpleasant situation.
Question: What is your normal reaction when something unpleasant happens to you? Do you accept it as the will of Hashem, or do you bemoan your situation and try to find out who is to blame?
In the beginning of the perashah, we are told that Abraham is getting old. The rest of the perashah deals primarily with Abraham's desire to secure the future of his lineage. When Yitzhak gets married, Abraham sends the rest of his children away. In doing so, he ensures that Yitzhak will be the sole heir to his "throne."
The Haftarah begins in the same fashion. King David is getting old. He wants to make sure that the right person will inherit the throne after he dies. One of his sons, Adoniyah, decides that he will be king when his father dies. But King David assures Bat Sheba that her son, Shelomo, will be the next Jewish king.
King David, like Abraham, wanted to make sure that the right son ruled when he died. (Tell it from the Torah)
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