This week’s portion tells the story of how Yitzchak (Isaac) and Rivkah met and married.
It is the first story of a shidduch in the Torah. The Torah uncharacteristically goes to great length in describing every detail of Eliezer’s (Abraham’s servant) journey. It even tells us what Eliezer was thinking in his mind.
This raises the following question: With most halachos (laws), the Torah uses just a few words to convey its point. However, here, it uses 67 pesukim (verses) to tell us this story. Why?
In Judaism, marriage is not just between a man and a woman. Rather, the presence of Hashem is what bonds and binds a couple – and keeps them together.
Together, the Hebrew names for husband (eish) and wife (eisha) carry the letters of Hashem’s name, signifying His role as an active partner in the relationship.
I often tell couples to think not only about what you or your spouse want, but also what Hashem wants.
How do we make Him an active partner in our marriage?
The answer is in this story.
The essence of the shidduch between Yitzchak and Rivkah was based on Eliezer accomplishing his mission. It was his job to “make it happen”. In turn, Eliezer looked to Hashem for guidance and strength, and, therefore, Hashem took an active role in the shidduch.
While the attitude and connection to Hashem in this parsha seems to focus on Eliezer, it is really about Abraham.
Abraham sent Eliezer on a mission to bring a wife for his son Yitzchak. Eliezer, a Canaanite, could have executed Abraham’s command by simply producing the result, whether through bribery, or by force.
Instead, he acted exactly as Abraham would have acted, had Abraham done it himself.
The Torah is showing the amazing influence that Abraham had on him. Everything Eliezer did was in sync with Hashem’s will. For this reason, the Torah details the entire episode – even Eliezer’s thoughts – since this is a testimony of Abraham’s lifelong achievements:
To bring the knowledge of Hashem and His ways to all of humanity.
Often in society, the end justify the means, and that, as long as our goals are accomplished, everything is good.
That is not true in marriage!
The Torah is teaching us it is more important how you get it – and the way you act in the process – than what you get.
For a Shidduch “to happen” and a marriage to work, we need to learn from Eliezer’s attitude, and allow Hashem to get involved.
by Rabbi Simcha Bunim Berger
Rabbi Berger spent fifteen years living in Eretz Yisroel learning under Rav Moshe Shapiro and Rav Asher Arieli. Rabbi Berger is currently the Rabbi of the Village Green shul and a Maggid Shiur at Yeshivas Ohr Reuven. He has spent many years building Torah in the community and guiding his talmidim to become the best that they can be.