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Thought for the Day: HaShem Wants Talmidim, not Robotim

My daughter told me that my granddaughter had formed her first sentence yesterday, "No more cookies?"  I was very proud.  Then my daughter told me that, of course, little Avigayil then threw a temper tantrum.  Then I was proud and thrilled.  Not the normal thrill I get that comes from seeing my grandchildren give back to their parents what their parents gave to me.  (Ok; there was some of that also.)  This was the thrill of realizing that Avigayil really knows what she is saying, and the temper tantrum proved it.  If you break it down into steps, she must have formed a hypothesis that her mother was not going to give her more cookies, then checked her hypothesis against data (she asked her mother), then she responded appropriately.  That's really cool.  And that's bracha in its truest sense.

In this week's parsha, Avraham Avinu asks if Eliezer wouldn't be an appropriate heir.  Eliezer is called "damasek" because he would "doleh mei' toraso shel rabo u'mashke l'acheirim" -- he drew from the Torah of his master and taught to others.  Sounds like a perfect talmid, no?  Yet in a few weeks when we read of Avraham sending Eliezer to find a shiduch for Yitzchak, we are given a seemingly much different picture of the faithful servant.  Eliezer wants to propose his daughter as a wife for Yitzchak, but Avraham Avinu tells him no, because "you are arur (cursed), and I am baruch (blessed)"; a shiduch like that just won't work.  Isn't shocking that Avraham Avinu would speak to his faithful servant that way?  Isn't it even more shocking that Eliezer doesn't seem in the least perturbed nor insulted?

The word "baruch" means increase; it is related to "b'reicha" -- "pool".  Eliezer is static.  He draws from his master's well of Torah, but never digs his own well.  To be baruch you have to be searching and connecting to the ultimate and only source of all bracha, HaKadosh Baruch Hu.  If you are not doing that, then you "arur"; there is no middle ground.  Eliezer is known as "Eliezer eved Avraham", and he is proud of that.  No Jew is proud to be a slave of anyone or anything, except one, The One.  Including my granddaughter.  May the Lord have mercy on her parents.

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