Tuesday, October 26, 2010

“I Saw the Sign!”

Parashat Chayei Sarah
15 Cheshvan 5771 / Oct. 29 – 30, 2010

Bereishit 23:1 – 25:18

“I Saw the Sign!”
by Zvi Bellin, MHHQ

Eliezer, Avraham’s servant, is sent back to Avraham’s home town to find a wife for Isaac. Avraham wants this bride to be from his very own family. Eliezer arrives at the town’s well and thinks,

“Gee! How am I going to find a woman from Avraham’s family? This is tough! I know, I will ask for a sign.”

Which he indeed does. The woman who will be for Isaac will be one who draws water for Eliezer and for all his camels. This lady with exceptional kindness will be perfect for Isaac (who often represents restriction). Just as Eliezer finishes asking for this sign, Rebecca comes down to draw water. Eliezer runs to her and asks for water. Rebecca quickly gives him to drink and then says the magic words, “I will even get water for your camels to drink.” SCORE!

And what did Eliezer do – he waited and watched with astonishment as Rebecca finished quenching the camels’ thirst. (Chapter 24, verse 21). He did not jump into action immediately after she made the offer; rather he paused and took in the complete fulfillment of his requested prophecy.

The mentioning of Eliezer’s pause caught my attention this week. It reminded me of the countless times that I receive a sign from the universe that things will work out the way I want them to. I get very excited and then when things turn sour, I experience disappointment or hopelessness. Maybe we can learn from Eliezer that when we are witnessing a sign we can pause and consider alternatives as to what it might mean. We can give a little time to pass to see if the sign is actually hinting at what we think, or perhaps not at all. Said simply, I can learn not to rush into narrow interpretations of events.

And also, like Eliezer, after pausing and witnessing, it is okay to make decisions based on a carefully interpreted sign. After the camels completed to drink, he presented Rebecca with gifts and discovered that he indeed found Avraham’s kin and the perfect wife for Isaac.


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