Joining the Blessed
In Parsha Chayei Sara, we’re brought the story of Avraham Avinu who, at the age of 137 sent his servant Eliezer to Charan to find a wife for Isaac. This was a great test for Eliezer. Why?
Because Eliezer said to Avraham Avinu: “You’re sending me now to Charan which is 1,000 kilometers from Eretz Yisrael and even more so that there are families there that aren’t the best… “
Avraham answered him: “On the contrary! “I want you to go specifically to those families to find a wife for my son. I want you to go to the family of Betuel and Lavan.”
We need to understand exactly who that family was.
The center of sorcery in the world
The holy Zohar says that their home was the center of sorcery in the world. There is a midrash which says that it would require a great miracle just to enter and leave their house alive. Betuel would kill people and would use their bodies for witchcraft. It’s also said about them that they would worship immense powers of impurity.
This is the place where Avraham sent his servant, Eliezer, to find a wife for Isaac!
Eliezer didn’t understand and said to Avraham, “Look, I have a daughter that grew up next to Sarah Imenu and she is a very righteous individual. Why are you sending me to the most spiritually-impure house in the world when you have such a righteous girl here?”
Avraham answered Eliezer (who came from Canaan and was the son of Nimrod), “You’re cursed because you are a descendant of Canaan on whom the curse was placed. And we are the descendants of Shem and Hashem blessed us.”
“A cursed person can’t be joined to the blessed.”
This was a great test for Eliezer! Why was Avraham pushing him away, even though he was his main student about whom it’s written that he would draw and drink from the waters of his master, and who was a very righteous person himself? Additionally, he struggled with the problem that in Charan there were surely no ‘blessed’ persons, everyone there was impure.
It’s also brought in the midrash that the entire journey from Eretz Yisrael to Charan, he had thoughts against Avraham, as he had known Avraham since his childhood.
The gaon and Tzadik, Rabbi Eliezer Berland, shlit’a, says that Eliezer said to himself, “Avraham is already 137, maybe he’s started to get a little confused and something happened to him?”
Nevertheless, even though Eliezer had all these questions, he still nullified his intellect and traveled to Charan. When he arrived there, he came to the well and prayed there to Hashem that He would send him a match for Isaac. It’s written that immediately after he finished praying, “I just finished speaking in my heart and behold Rebecca came out with a jug on her shoulder and she went down to the well, etc.”
Eliezer ‘sees’ Esav
Rav Berland explains that there is a midrash which says that the initial letters of the Hebrew words v’kadmah al shichmah (with a jug on her shoulder) spell out the word ‘Esav’ (Esau). At the moment that Eliezer saw Rebecca, he also saw with Divine insight that Rebecca would give birth to Esav.
Now, he had proof that everything he had thought was correct! So now, Eliezer really couldn’t understand what was going on, and the questions just increased. Not only did she come from a family like this, but she was also destined to give birth to the evil Esau…?
However, he threw away his own ideas and immediately placed the jewelry on her.
Follow the money
It’s told that after Lavan saw that there was a potential marriage contract here with a lot of money, he ran to greet Eliezer and said to him, “Come, blessed one of G-d”. Our Sages say about this, that at the moment that Lavan said, “Come, blessed one of G-d”, Eliezer left being cursed and became included in the blessed.
He merited to come out from the curse which Noah had cursed all the descendants of Canaan.
Our Sages ask why did he merit to come out of the curse and also to enter with his body into Gan Eden? The answer is that he merited to this because he had such big questions about Avraham Avinu, who was the Tzadik of the generation, but he kept quiet through them all.
When Lavan said, “Come, blessed one of G-d” and Eliezer left the curse and became included in the blessed, now he had another question: “Now, if I’m no longer cursed, but rather blessed, maybe now I can marry into Avraham’s family1” However, even so, he continued with the mission that Avraham had sent him on.
Writing in Likutei Halachot, Rabbi Natan said about this matter that we see from here that any time a person has a test of questions, which usually are about Hashem, or about the Tzadikim, where we don’t understand Hashem, or the Tzadikim;
the moment that we merit to remain quiet over all these questions we merit to come out of the cursed and enter into the blessed.
The general redemption
Just like Avraham, who stayed quiet about all the questions he had in regard to the binding of Isaac, and the same too, with Eliezer.
Therefore, Rabbi Natan teaches us that every time we merit to stay silent over all these questions, we leave the cursed and enter the blessed.
This is the ‘general redemption’, because the moment a person remains quiet through all the questions, it’s considered as if at that moment he drew upon himself a ‘general redemption’, meaning that Hashem has redeemed him from all of his sins.
Translated and adapted from Rav Ofer Erez’s forthcoming book in English, Al Parshat Drachim (The Crossroads).