Parshat Chayei Sarah: Matchmaking loving kindness

“So let it come to pass, that the maiden to whom I shall say. ‘Let down your pitcher, I pray you, that I may drink’; and she shall say, ‘Drink, and I will give your camels drink also’. Let the same be she that You have appointed for Your servant, for Isaac; and thereby shall I know that You have shown loving kindness to my master.” (Genesis 24:14)

The most remarkable trait of Abraham’s messenger to bring a bride of his son Isaac is his discernment to know what is relevant in human life, for this is what gives its meaning and purpose. Nothing else was more important for this loyal servant of his master. In this awareness there is no question or doubt about God’s will, but the reaffirmation and reiteration of it.

Some consider that the messenger’s request to God was improper, based on the assumption that he should not have suggested Him who to choose as the future wife of our second patriarch. Not quite, but the opposite. The messenger’s request to God was motivated by his intention to match God’s will for the mission that his master Abraham entitled him.

The messenger knew that the bride had to have the same traits, qualities and attributes shared by his masters, Abraham and Isaac. Our sages teach that in order for us to love something or someone, there must be at least one thing in common; and, the more things are shared, more the closeness and bonding that we experience. In this case loving kindness was, not only the shared character trait between Abraham, Isaac, the messenger and Rebecca, but their bond with God.

The reason for loving kindness is simple, because being understood as the utmost expression of goodness is the foundation for life in all its aspects and dimensions. Thus we realize that goodness is what supports, nurtures, relieves, strengthens, unites and harmonizes the ways in which we relate to each other. In his expectation, the messenger also teaches us that goodness is the vessel to receive the higher loving kindness that comes from the Creator of all.

Hence we understand the Torah’s repetition of this episode as a double remainder that we also must pursue loving kindness as the foundation of the Jewish identity that allows and enables the children of Israel to fulfill God’s will, and to make this world a place for Him to dwell among [in] us.

About the Author
Ariel Ben Avraham was born in Colombia (1958) from a family with Sephardic ancestry. He studied Cultural Anthropology in Bogota, and lived twenty years in Chicago working as a radio and television producer and writer. He emigrated to Israel in 2004, and for the last fourteen years has been studying the Chassidic mystic tradition, about which he writes and teaches. Based on his studies, he wrote his first book "God's Love" in 2009. He currently lives in Kochav Yaakov.
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