By Rabbi Nussbaum
VOLUME 98 NUMBER 5
November 14, 2020
CHESHVAN 26, 5781
PARSHAS CHAYEI SARA
Candlelighting Time 4:26 PM
Obviously, Rivka was a special person who merited to become the wife of Yitzchok. When she came to marry him, their home resembled that of his mother Sara. Rashi cites the Midrash that when Sara was alive a cloud always hovered over her tent, a candle burnt the entire week and the home was endowed with blessing. When Yitzchok brought Rivka, he observed her conduct and was pleased to see that the exact same miraculous events that had transpired during his mother’s lifetime occurred with Rivka as well. Therefore, he took her for his wife. It would seem that the cloud hovering over the tent was indicative of Hashem’s presence. As a result, blessing was apparent in their home and a candle, perhaps alluding to the light of the soul, was always burning. Spirituality was their reality!
Was Yitzchok concerned that Rivka would measure up to his mother’s stature? If he was doubtful, why would Eliezer have imposed upon her to make such a long journey if her ‘credentials’ were not yet acceptable? On the other hand, if Yitzchok was indeed impressed with Rivka from the very beginning, why didn’t he just marry immediately? Apparently, a need for this test of Rivka now became necessary!
When Rivka was travelling with Eliezer on the way to meet Yitzchok, he was also en route bringing Hagar back to Avrohom to marry her. Alshich mentions that this was very providential that they should encounter each other. Rivka noticed someone coming towards them and she wondered who he was? Had they not met others on the road that she was so curious as to this person’s identity? The Midrash says that Yitzchok’s countenance radiated like that of Yosef. Both had survived perilous ordeals successfully. Yitzchok was not offered on the altar as a sacrifice to Hashem and Yosef was able to rebuff the entreaties of Potiphar’s wife who forcefully attempted to seduce him. Both emanated a certain brilliance that shown forth. When Rivka noticed this unusual sight, she realized that she was beholding an extraordinary person. Therefore, she somewhat inclined off the camel in order that he should not see her and covered her face demonstrating her modesty in the presence of another man, especially someone of such great stature like Yitzchok.
We may assume that Yitzchok was either aware of what had happened, or Eliezer informed him. Whatever the case, it is reasonable to assume that he was duly impressed with Rivka’s conduct and wanted to confirm her level of purity and virtue. He brought her to his mother’s home and saw that she was indeed a person of unusual morality and integrity. Hence, the miraculous features that he had seen by his mother returned upon her appearance at her home.
Based upon the comment of the Alshich that their initial meeting in the field was providential, then we are led to understand that Hashem orchestrated this occurrence in order that Yitzchok should be impressed with Rivka and endeavor to validate her character leading to their subsequent marriage and the building of the future of our nation.
It is clear from this setting that the resolve of Avrohom to secure the appropriate wife for Yitzchok provided them with Divine assistance in many ways as can be gleaned from the narrative of Eliezer to Lavan. When we embark upon life’s journey with the objective to fulfill the wishes of Hashem, then we will merit His blessing to accomplish that which we need to achieve.
A BYTE FOR SHABBOS
Avrohom gave to Yitzchok all that he possessed. Avrohom typified the trait of love for Hashem while Yitzchok epitomized the characteristic of fear for Hashem. When we elevate ourselves and merit to fear Hashem, then we will be able to ascend further and love Him as well.