A SACRED MISSION
RABBI REUVEN MANN
This week’s Parsha, Chaye Sara, devotes a great deal of atttention to the selection of a wife for Yitzchak. Avraham instructed his servent Eliezer to return to his homeland and choose an appropriate bride for his son. A major condition was that the girl wold be willing to abandon her country and family and reside with Yitzchak in Canaan. Eliezer apparently realized how daunting a task this could be. Suppose, he asked, that he found the perfect match but she would be unwilling to travel to Canaan,. In that case would it be alright to bring Yitzchak to her? Avraham was adamant in his response. Under no circumstance was Yitzchak to leave the land. If Eliezer coulde not prevail upon the chosen woman to leave he would be absolved from his oath.
At first glance the position of Eliezer seems more reasonable than that of Avraham. It was extremely vital for Yitzchak to marry a woman with the proper ideals and impeccable virtues which would qualify her to be a matriarch of the Jewish people. It was obvious then as it is now that people on that level of perfection are very rare and hard to find. Eliezer argued that if he should be fortunate to discover the ideal candidate but for whatever reason she could not leave her homeland, would it not make sense for Yitzchak to relocate in order to marry her? Avraham vehemently rejected the logic of this proposal. What was the reasoning behind his position?
In my opinion, Avraham was communicating a very significant teaching. Judaism believes very strongly in the sanctity of marriage. No institution is more consequential to the maintenance of society and the perpetuation of Torah. Our Parsha teaches that one must approach the selection of a spouse with wisdom and recognize that nothing is more important than their values and character. Eliezer believed that if he discovered a truly righteous woman it would make sense for Yitzchak to leave Canaan in order to marry her.
Avraham disagreed. He maintained that however important the proper shidduch may be it is not an end in itself,. It cannot be acquired at the sacrifice of one’s primary purpose which is Avodas Hashem (service of G-d). Yitzchak’s mission was to perpetuate and expand upon the religious doctrines and teachings of Avraham and continue to spread them in the land of Canaan. This was the essence of his life and he needed a suitable partner to work together with him to achieve this goal. Yitzchak’s dedication to his spiritual mission took precedence over everything else and was the guiding principle of Avraham’s instructions to Eliezer. “Be careful lest you return my son there,” he said to his servant. Even the most precious relationship in life cannot be attained at the cost of one’s primary mission of Avodas Hashem.
This story contains an important lesson for us. We must have our priorities in order and establish our lives on the proper foundation. If we recognize that Hashem created us for a purpose and dedicate ourselves to achieving it, we will be worthy of all His blessings and support.