THOUGHT FOR PARSHAT CHAYEI SARAH 5779

BY RABBI CHAIM FACHLER

 

Towards the end of this week’s Parsha, we are told about the dramatic first meeting between Rivka and Yitzchak, which results in Rivka swooning and falling from her camel. Why is this so significant?

 

We will learn much later how their son Yakov receives his father's blessing in somewhat dubious circumstances - at Rivka’s insistence.

 

We will also learn that Yitzchak recognised Esav's negative traits and ended up giving Yakov another blessing, similar to the one he himself had received from his father Avraham - a blessing Yitzchak chose not to pass on to Esav.

 

And if we take a close look at the narrative, we will discover that the relationship between Yitzchak and Rivka differed greatly from that of Avraham and Sarah. Sarah to a certain extent was on a level par with her beloved Avraham. Not so Rivka with Yitzchak.

 

The Netziv notes all these points and offers the following explanation.

 

Rivka was concerned that if Yakov were to receive only the natural blessing passed on from Abraham, some of his descendants would not make the grade, leading to their being 'left out' from the rest of the Chosen People. Only if Yakov would receive an additional 'lesser' blessing would there be hope for future generations. Yitzchak, in his unique purity, could not and would not contemplate such possibilities, so regular husband-wife dialogue would not have worked. It needed special circumstances. These were successfully supplied by Rivka, and because of this, Yakov received (on our behalf) the necessary blessings.

 

All of this came about as the result of the unusual relationship between Yitzchak and Rivka. This in turn, suggests the Netziv, was due to their first meeting. Yitzchak was just finishing to doven Mincha when Rivka, previously hidden from view by Eliezer, suddenly came face to face with this holy man - and she fainted.

 

This then set the scene for their lifelong relationship, and the rest – as they say – is history.

 

Nistarot Darchei HaShem – HaShem’s ways are wondrous!

 

Shabbat Shalom,