Chayei Sarah 3rd aliyah (Genesis 24:10-26)
November 19, 2019 (21 Chesvan 5780)
by Tzvi Schnee
“And the servant took ten camels, of the camels of his master, and departed; having all goodly things of his master’s in his hand.”
– Genesis 2 4:10, JPS 1917 Tanach
Eliezer, Abraham’s servant set off with ten camels, laden with the dowry that would be shown to the family of the woman who would marry Abraham’s son, Isaac. As of yet, who that woman would be was only known to G-d. It was Abraham’s will to find a wife for Isaac from amongst his own relatives, so that she would exemplify the character traits worthy of the next matriarch.
“And he made the camels to kneel down without the city by the well of the water at the time of evening, the time that women go out to draw water.”
– Genesis 24:11, JPS 1917 Tanach
Eliezer prayed, a prayer to H’Shem, designed to test the character of the woman who would respond: “Let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say: Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say: Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also; let the same be she that Thou hast appointed for thy servant, even for Isaac; and thereby shall I know that Thou hast shown kindness unto thy master” (Genesis 24:24:14).
It should be emphasized that Eliezer was not requesting a sign from G-d; rather, he wanted proof that Isaac’s wife-to-be would demonstrate kindness, consideration, and selflessness; in effect, that her character be one imbued with chesed. Thus requested, thus done; before he was finished with his request to H’Shem, his prayer had already been answered: “Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel the son of Milcah, the wife of Nachor, Abraham’s brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder” (Genesis 24:15).