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Simcha Groffman

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Parashas Chaye Sara


"Mazel tov! Did you hear the good news Avi?"

"No, what happened Abba?"

"Our neighbor's son, Yitzchak, became a chosson."

"Mazel tov! That is wonderful. Who is the kallah?"

"A wonderful girl named Rivka."

"Yitzchak and Rivka, what a shidduch! It sounds like this week's parasha, Abba."

"Actually, it is similar to the shidduch of our holy forefather."

"Really? In what way Abba?"

"First and foremost, Hashem was the shadchan. He guided Rivka to Eliezer, who then took her to be Yitzchak's wife. To this very day, the Almighty guides the events of every shidduch, bringing the husband and wife together."

"We are in good hands."

"Definitely, Avi. Secondly, the requirements for a good spouse have not changed over the centuries. Avraham Avinu's home was founded on good middos. He and Sara were the epitome of gemilus chassodim (loving kindness). A daughter-in-law who was to enter this home had to be crowned with this good middah. To this very day, we are all descendants of Avraham Avinu, and our homes are still built upon gemilus chassodim. Therefore, this middah has to be the first criteria when looking for a spouse."

"How did Avraham and Eliezer go about finding a baalas chessed for Yitzchak?"

"First of all, they began their search in the right place. The Keli Yakar (on Bereshis 24:3) relates that middos are passed down from parents to children. Therefore, one should look for a spouse from a family with good middos. Avraham made Eliezer swear that he would not take a wife for Yitzchak from the daughters of Canaan (24:3). Why? Because this family had an evil nature. We see this from the previous parasha about the Efron HaChiti, a descendant of Canaan. The Keli Yakar (on 24:14) explains that a person's monetary matters reveal his true nature. Efron extorted an exorbitant sum of money from Avraham Avinu for Maaras HaMachpela. A daughter from such a cruel family could not marry Yitzchak. Therefore, Avraham sent Eliezer to his birthplace, Ur Kasdim, to look for a wife from Avraham's family."

"I see, Abba. Eliezer looked for a girl from a good family. However, lineage is not the whole story. Not every child from a good family has proper middos. The girl herself must be a baalas chessed. How would Eliezer check this out?"

"Excellent question, Avi. The verse itself (along with Rashi's commentary) details how Eliezer asked Hashem to show him the middos of Yitzchak's future wife. If she gave drinking water to both him and his camels, she would prove that she was a fitting baalas chessed for Avraham Avinu's family (Bereshis 24:12-14). Just as Eliezer finished speaking to Hashem, Rivka appeared at the well."

"What happened, Abba?"

"She rushed to serve the water to Eliezer. She ran to the well to bring more water for the camels. Her quickness was reminiscent of Avraham Avinu's running to serve the angels who came to visit him in Mamre (Bereshis 18:6- 8). The Ohr HaChaim HaKadosh (24:17) describes all of the details of the many acts of chessed Rivka did in serving the water. Firstly, the well water came up to meet her. This miracle was reserved only for those families who were holy and blessed like Avraham Avinu. She herself brought the water pitcher to Eliezer, lowered it, and brought it to his mouth for him to drink. She only mentioned watering the camels after he had finished drinking. This allowed Eliezer to drink slowly, not feeling that he was making the camels wait. She held the pitcher for him the entire time that he was drinking. He did not have to lift it or move it at all. It is worthwhile to look up the Ohr HaChaim, Avi, and see the other acts of chessed that Rivka performed."

"Wow! What consideration! What a tsadekes! What a baalas chessed!"

"Yes, a true mate for our holy forefather Yitzchak. That is how that shidduch went, and that is how shidduchim go to this very day. We should look for spouses with good middos, who will build homes and lives based on loving kindness. And so, Avraham Avinu's tradition of chessed will continue in Klal Yisrael."

"May everyone merit building a bayis ne'eman biYisrael (home faithful to Jewish values)."


Kinderlach . . .

Choosing whom to marry is the most important decision of your life. Avraham and Eliezer showed us the way. Look in the right place - a family with good middos. Pray to Hashem for Siyata Di'Shmaya (Heavenly Assistance) to send the right one to you, and to make the decision clear and easy. Do your hishtadlus (preparatory action) and watch Hashem do His work. Kinderlach we hope to hear many "mazel tov's"; each one in the right time.

Who's In Charge Here?

"He ruled over all that was his" (Bereshis 24:2). This verse is referring to Eliezer, Avraham Avinu's senior servant, who was entrusted with running his entire household. Avraham sent him to find a wife for Yitzchak. Perhaps someone would try to bribe Eliezer to accept an unsuitable woman as a wife. Avraham was not concerned. Eliezer was so trustworthy, that he surely would not take a bribe for an unsuitable woman. The Keli Yakar zt"l explains that Eliezer also ruled over all of his own possessions. Sometimes a person's belongings can rule over him. They take so much time and care, that the person is not free to pursue important things. Worse than that, one can get caught up in acquiring things. The desire for money can overtake him. There is no end to this, and he will have time for nothing. Eliezer ruled over his property, it did not rule over him. He kept it in perspective. He was happy with his lot. He had no desire for money that was not his. Therefore, he was not subject to bribery.

Kinderlach . . .

Possessions can help you or hurt you. It depends upon how you use them. You should only ask for what you need. More is not better. As the Mishna says (Pirkei Avos 2:8), "More property means more worries." Only use what you need and only use it when you need it. Modern technology can be a great tool. However, it can also eat up lots of time and ruin your peace of mind. You must control it, and not let it control you. Be like Eliezer. Rule your things. Do not let them rule you.

Parasha Questions:

How was Rivka related to Avraham? (24:15)

What did Eliezer do when he found out that Rivka was from Avraham's family? (24:26,27)

When speaking to your heart, with Whom are you speaking? (24:45)

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