Sharona Margolin Halickman

Foreshadowed Events

Photo Courtesy Sharona Halickman

In Parshat Chayei Sara, Breisheet Chapter 24 we read the story of Avraham sending his servant (Midrashically known as Eliezer) to find a wife for Yitzchak.

Rabbeinu Bachya comments (Breisheet 24:22):

All the details of what was happening with Rivka at this time foreshadowed events of the future involving her offspring. Similarly, all that happened to Avraham’s servant on this mission foreshadowed events that would happen to her descendants in the desert.

Avraham told Eliezer in Breisheet 24:7:

HaShem, God of heaven, Who took me from my father’s house, and from the land of my birth, Who spoke to me, and Who swore to me, saying, “To your descendants I will give this land”- He will send His angel (Malacho) before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there.

Just as an angel had been at Eliezer’s side through the efficacy of Avraham’s prayer who had said that “G-d will send His angel before you,” so too did it happen to Avraham’s descendants in the desert. The angel in question was not a regular natural phenomenon but one of the disembodied spiritual creatures. As well, the angel who accompanied the Jewish people was such a disembodied spiritual force who had been emanated by the merit of Avraham.

This was whom the Torah had in mind when it quoted God as telling Moses in Parshat Mishpatim, Shmot 23:20:

Here I am about to send an angel (Malachi) ahead of you.

Just as Avraham referred to this divine force as Malacho, “His angel,” so too did God refer to the same divine force as Malachi, “My angel.”

Rabbeinu Bachya adds more similarities between the two stories:

Just as the waters at the well had risen towards Rivka, so the waters rose towards her “children” in the desert as it says in Bamidbar 21:17: “It was then that Yisrael sang the song: ‘Arise, O well, sing to it!’”

The mission to find a wife for Yitzchak was carried out by a trusted servant (Eliezer). The Jewish people in the desert were led by God’s trusted servant (Moshe).

We read in Breisheet 24:10: “The servant took ten camels from his master’s camels and departed. All the best of his master was in his hand…” Eliezer had been equipped with all the “good” of his master, Avraham, The Torah, in a parallel reference, tells us that God equipped Moshe for his task by equipping him with all ‘His goodness’. This is what is meant in Shmot 33:19: “God said, ‘I will cause all My goodness to pass before your presence…”

Eliezer gave gifts to Rivkah at the well (Breisheet 24:22):

When the camels had finished drinking, the man took a gold nose ring, weighing half a shekel, and two bracelets for her arms, weighing ten gold shekel.

He also gave gifts to Rivka and her family at her father’s house (Breisheet 24:53):

The servant took out articles of silver, articles of gold and garments and gave them to Rivka. To her brother and mother, he gave precious fruits.

The Jewish people also received gifts on two separate occasions. They received the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai and received the gift of the covenant shortly before they entered the Land of Israel (Devarim 28:69):

These are the statements of the covenant that God commanded Moshe to ratify with B’nai Yisrael in the land of Moav, beside the covenant that he made with them at Chorev (Mt. Sinai).

At that time many commandments which were applicable in the Land of Israel were revealed for the first time in detail as B’nai Yisrael were getting ready to enter the Land.

We see from here that Rabbeinu Bachya’s parallels really work. Just as Good took care of Eliezer and Rivka, so too did He take care of Moshe and B’nai Yisrael.

Now we need to be taken care of once again. We need God to send us an angel to help us fight this war, we need trusted leaders that we can rely on and we need to appreciate the Torah, God’s bond with the Jewish people including the agricultural mitzvot which help connect us with the Land of Israel.

About the Author
Sharona holds a BA in Judaic Studies from Stern College and an MS in Jewish Education from Azrieli Graduate School, Yeshiva University. Sharona was the first Congregational Intern and Madricha Ruchanit at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, NY. After making aliya in 2004, Sharona founded Torat Reva Yerushalayim, a non profit organization based in Jerusalem which provides Torah study groups for students of all ages and backgrounds.
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