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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.


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