week's Torah portion is Chayei Sarah (Gen. 23:1-25:16), meaning "the
life of Sarah", but it begins with the account of her death. Abraham
goes to Hebron to bargain with Ephron ben Zohar to buy land to bury his
wife. Then, he moves on to the living and goes about the business of
finding a wife for his son, Isaac. Abraham sends Eliezer back to "his
country", the place where Abraham's family dwells, and bids him find a
wife for Isaac from among their women.
Eliezer does Abraham's
bidding, but seemingly overwhelmed by the magnitude of his task, he asks
God to send him a sign. The sign he chooses is that he will go to the
local well at evening, when the women draw water, and the woman who
offers to draw water for him, and also for his camels, is the right wife
for Isaac. The commentators argue over whether Eliezer is practicing
divination, which is forbidden by Jewish law, or if he has simply
designed a test of character. The commentator Malbim speaks for the
latter view: "After selecting the most outwardly attractive of the
damsels he required to find out more about her inner qualities...this
would indicate that she was a hospitable, considerate and unassuming
person". That person was our matriach Rebecca.
characteristics would be important for any potential spouse, but
especially so for Isaac, already traumatized by nearly being sacrificed
by his father, and deeply grieved by the recent death of his mother.
Isaac, of all people, needed a Rebecca in his life, and of all the
patriarchs and matriarchs, they seem the most deeply devoted to one
another. At the end of the story of their meeting we are told "And
Isaac brought her unto his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebecca and she
became his wife; and he loved her; and Isaac was comforted after his
mother's death" (Gen. 24:6).
We, our communities, our nations, and our world are at our wits' end. This blog and witsendmagazine.com can help us pull back from the edge to a safer place of harmony and sustainability. You are an essential part of this task. Join us.
The paths we choose
are best when traveled together.
We Can Do It
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." -- Margaret Mead