Skip to main content

Thought for the Day: Choosing a Proper Wife for Yitzchak

The Magid of Dubno was once asked how he always had a ready mashal for any situation.  He answered with a mashal.
A man was walking through the forest and saw several targets with arrows dead center.  Some were in very tricky spots, and so he wanted to find this expert archer.  He finally found the archer and asked how he had been able to hone his skills to such a high degree.  The archer answered that he simply shot the arrow first, then drew the target around the arrow.
I do something similar.  I have a huge backlog of questions for which I don't have a good answer.  Some are my own, many are from shiurim and talks that posed questions that were much better than the answer.  In any case, whenever I hear a new idea I look to see if it helps with any of those question.  I heard nice vort at a sheva brachos last night that made a nice bull's eye to a big arrow of a question.

Avraham Avinu sent Eliezer off to his birthplace to find an appropriate shidduch for Yitzchak (who was being groomed to be the next Av and needed an appropriate eizer k'negdo).  The first question is: why?  The old homestead was not overflowing with tzadikim; in fact, it was reeking with r'sha'im.  Second question: Eliezer looks for a ba'alas chesed, yet Yitzchak's mida is din.  Moreover, the main stories we have of Rivka -- her difficult pregnancy and ensuring that Yaakov got the brachos -- are about din and not chesed.  Moreover, Avraham explains to Eliezer's that own daughter is not appropriate because she is from arur (cursed) and Yitchak is from baruch (blessed).  (Isn't that sensitive?)  Instead of being insulted, Eliezer seems to accept that as a good explanation of why he needs to go so far to find a wife for Yitzchak.  So what's going on here?

The vort I heard was from R' Ephraim Twerksi in the name of his father, R' Michel.  When Avraham dispatches Eliezer, he tells him not to take a wife from the k'na'ani "asher anochi yoshev b'kirbo" -- in whose midst I reside.  Later, Eliezer tells B'su'el that Avraham commanded him not to take a wife from the k'na'ani "asher anochi yoshev b'artzo" -- in whose land I reside.  It is so important to re-iterate Avraham's address and using the uncommon "anochi"?

Says HaRav Twerski, don't translate the word "anochi" as "I", but as "the mida of me; first and last".  So Avraham is explaining that the people of k'na'an are focused only on their own needs; they are inner focused, bounded, static; which is the real meaning of arur.  "Baruch" means looking outside oneself, unlimited, always growing.  That means chesed.  Yitchak was not simply midas ha'din -- he was midas ha'din built from and nourished by chesed.  Eliezer had to be certain that he wife he found was completely devoid of selfishness.

Chesed is not only Avraham's mida... it is rather the mida that serve as the foundation of every one of the Avos and Ima'hos in order to build the nation for whom the world -- which is itself built on chesed -- was created.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Coming Into This World for Torah, Avodah, and Acts of Loving Kindness

This TftD is so self-serving that I should be embarrassed.  But I am not... talking about grandchildren is always off budget.  I have, bli ayin hara, a beautiful new grandson; born at 6:11 PM CDT last Friday night.  The secular (aka -- by me, anyway -- slave) date is October 20, 2017 CE.  The Hebrew (aka Real) date is certainly Rosh Chodesh חשון/Cheshvan and certainly in the year 5778 since Creation.  The date, you ask... good question!

Sundown on Friday night was 6:01 PM CDT, which means he was born either at the end of the last day of תשרי or the beginning of the first day of Cheshvan; a period know as בין השמשות/twilight.  What's the big deal, you ask... I am so glad you asked.  We all deal quite handily with בין השמשות every week and every holiday; we're just stringent.  We start Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov before בין השמשות; that is, before sundown.  Likewise, we end Shabbos and the first day of Yom Tov after בין השמשות; some 42, 50, 60, or 72 minutes after sundo…

Thought for the Day: Prayer II -- How?

Now that we know that the obligation to pray is nothing more (nor less!) than a divine decree, we are going to also need instructions from heaven on how to implement that decree.  I cannot stress enough how important it is to have instruction from heaven how to implement heavenly decrees.  One only needs to look at the shambles that one modern ism has made of the very important Torah principle of תיקון עולם/improving and fixing the world.  They have taken words out of context and used them to support their own nefarious schemes.  (To the point that Google Translate actually translates -- not transliterates -- תיקון עולם as Tikkun Olam.  Amelia Bedelia would be proud; we are not amused.

The Torah teaches us how to pray in two complementary fashions.  One is the way in which the concept is presented as an obligation, the other is by giving us examples of how to practically implement those instructions.

The obligation is introduced in the second paragraph of "sh'ma" -- וּלְ…