Beit Midrash

  • Torah Portion and Tanach
  • Chayei Sara
To dedicate this lesson

The Torah study is dedicated in the memory of

Revital Bat Lea

Mission Accomplished


Prof Joseph S. Bodenheimer

It would seem that the hero of this week's parasha is Avraham's servant, the unnamed "elder of his house, who ruled over all that he had." Chazal unequivocally identify him as Eliezer, but the Torah prefers to leave him anonymous. The story of his mission is given such full coverage that Rav Acha wryly remarks: "The conversation of the servants of our forefathers is more worthy before Him than the Torah of their descendants, since the episode of Eliezer is repeated by the Torah, whereas many Torah precepts are given only by hint" (Rashi, from Midrash Rabba).

The tale told by the servant is cleverly crafted and modified by him with subtle changes, in order to elicit the required response from Lavan and Bethuel: "From God has this come forth, we cannot speak unto you bad or good." Indeed Avraham's messenger skillfully fulfilled his task, his story is worthy of the coverage that the Torah gives it, and this verse appears to be the climax of the mission.

The next morning, however, it turns out that Lavan and family do not intend to let Rivka go so quickly. The case is still wide open. Could it be that Lavan figured that he could still bargain a better deal out of the servant? Whatever it may be, Rivka is called in, and the family, expectantly, put the question to her: "Will you go with this man?" Now we are at the "moment of truth," and it all hinges upon Rivka's response! Is this young girl prepared to forgo the security and the comfort of her childhood home, in order to spend the rest of her life in a far-away land called Canaan, to build her own family and future with an as-yet unmet man called Yitzhak?

Rivka does not hesitate for a moment. She gives her pure and brave answer in one word: "Eilech!" I shall go! Rivka is the one who brings this mission to its successful conclusion, however instrumental the servant may have been. She is the true heroine of this parasha and a role-model for her descendants ever-after.

This is a weekly column contributed by Aloh Naaleh an organization devoted to motivating Jews to make Aliya.
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