Gut Erev Shabbos to all dear readers!

I dedicate this parsha post as a zechus for a blessed and speedy refuah sheleimah for Rochel bas Daniella Dshoar and Elisheva Yehudis bas Yael Devora.  May Hashem heal, strengthen and bless all the ill and broken of Klal Yisrael in the merit of Shabbos Kodesh.  Please keep them in your prayers.


A quick note before we begin:  Every year, it usually takes me the whole winter season to adjust to the early candle-lighting times we now have, and considering the time I’m making today, I only have time to share with you a brief and rather informal post this week.  But still, we’ll cover a few beautiful core themes and ideas in the parsha, and of course draw true and lasting spirit from the script.  It’s an incredible, bursting Parsha this week; I encourage everyone to read it when they have the chance!  Let’s learn!


The beautiful, detailed narrative, of Eliezer servant of Avraham’s encounter with Rivka, gives us a peek into the very genuine, personal conduct of one of our Mothers.  Rivka was, as the Midrash describes, “a rose amongst the thorns”; her pure and precious soul was unaffected by the abrasive, unpleasant, idolatrous society around her, and she stood strong in her character and morals against the stifling current.

When Eliezer asked her for a drink, the Torah explains that she lowered her pitcher from her shoulder to her hand, before Eliezer drew near to have a sip.  The Torah doesn’t waste words, and our Sages teach that this detail hints to her tzniyus conduct when serving a man.   Flipping forward (spoiler approaching!), to when Eliezer arrives back t o his master’s home with Rivka, the bride, in tow, Yitzchak was out in the field davening.  Rivka glimpsed her Chatan, and not yet knowing who the stranger in the field was, addressed Eliezer “Who is that man coming towards us?”  When Eliezer answered that it was Yitzchak, Rivka covered herself with a veil.  She was modest.

Rashi shares with us that at the well, before Eliezer approached Rivka, he observed that the waters rose and surged towards her when she drew near.  He then ran to her in excitement, thinking this was indeed a sign from Hashem, that this was the girl who he was searching for.  Although her task was sped up by this miracle, Rivka didn’t dawdle at the well, squandering time with the other young women gossiping, as was popular custom.  She performed her task with alacrity and focus.  Furthermore, the Torah details “vat’maheirshe quickly lowered her pitcher from her shoulder”, in her haste to nourish the thirsty traveler who sought her help.  She then ran untiringly to and fro, providing the man’s camels with water until they were satiated.  After Eliezer gave her the gifts of jewelry, and asked her who her family was, “vataratz – she ran” to relay to her mother’s household the events that had just occurred.  Just as fitting for Avraham’s family who ran, to serve guests and to carry out Ratzon Hashem, she possessed zrizus.

After Rivka had watered Eliezer, his men, and his camels, Eliezer inquired first as to who her family was, and secondly, if they had room for him to stay the night.  Rivka replied in the manner that Pirkei Avos declares befitting for a wise person:  She answered his first question first, and last lastly.  She was organized and refined in her speech.  She was skilled in communication.

Rivka’s soul-qualities shone profoundly through her deeds These are but a few of the numerous examples of Rivka’s exemplary character, so evident through the ‘little things’ she did!  Someone was watching her carefully, and indeed, it was her attention to the nuances of her interactions with the people around her, and the way she carried herself, that made her meritorious of being Divinely chosen to rise as the next mother of the Jewish People.  Her examples are eternally recorded in the Holy Torah, to learn and draw a flood of inspiration from.  Your actions and words, no matter how seemingly ‘insignificant’, all truly have a tremendous impact on your personal self, the society around you, and ultimately the world; and through them, you define who you really are.  It just takes one mitzvah at a time, one little spark after another…  Remember, too, that  Someone is always watching us… “The Book is always open… the eye sees… the hand writes…” {Avot}, and no deed goes unrecorded, no mitzvah unrewarded.

We also see how the concept of how the “little things” are what build and define our characters, can be applied to Lavan, Rivka’s brother, and diametric opposite.  After Eliezer told his story, and made his proposal to Rivka’s family, “vaya’an Lavan u’Vesueil – Lavan and Besueil (Rivka’s father) answered” in the affirmative, acknowledging the Hasghacha Pratis (Divine Providence) of the discovery and match, exclaiming “May’Hashem yatzah hadavar – the matter emanated from Hashem!”  Rashi castigates Lavan as a Rasha, a wicked person.  How come?  The simple secret is in the verse:  “Vaya’an Lavan u’Vesueil”– Lavan interrupted, and spoke up before his father, an act that isn’t praiseworthy.  We must treat our parents with the utmost respect, and interrupting certainly detracts from their honor.


What does Hashem have in store for each and every one of us?  It’s hidden…  However, we can co-write our destiny.  Where do you want to go in life?  How will you grow on your journey to get there?  Like Rivka, you can become someone so great– and you are already!  It is up to you to pave your way to your true self, brick by brick, step by step, change by change, spark by spark.

The Messenger Bird