by Zvi Akiva Fleisher
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SEDRAH SELECTIONS PARSHAS CHAYEI SOROH 5774 BS"DCh. 23, v. 1: "Shnei chayei Soroh" - The years of Soroh's life - This means that she lived her allotted years, and no less because of some shortcoming. Although our Rabbis say that when she complained to Avrohom "chamosi o'lecho" her years were shortened, this means that she was otherwise so righteous that she would have had time added to her allotted years. Her saying "chamosi o'lecho" reduced her "bonus" so to say back to her original allotted years. (Eretz Chemdoh)
Ch. 23, v. 8: "Ufigu li b'Efron" - And plead for me by Efron - The medrash says that this request was that they act as agents to present his request. Avrohom, knowing that he was a most respected person, felt that if he were to go directly to Efron before sending an agent, would be psychologically pressuring Efron to sell, thus transgressing "lo sachmode." He therefore first sent a go between. (Yalkut Ho'urim)
Alternatively, in an attempt to avoid having Efron price gouge him, he requested that the agents arrange that they would "happen to meet him," and say that they heard there was an interested party for his field. (Kol Omeir Kra)
Ch. 23, v. 3: "Va'yokom Avrohom mei'al pnei meiso" - And Avrohom rose from the countenance of his dead - On the words "shma b'koloh" Rashi comments that Soroh was greater than Avrohom was in prophecy. It is a well known concept mentioned in the gemara that when someone great dies that people are spurred on to take on some of the outstanding attributes of the deceased. We can thus interpret these words to be conveying that since Soroh was greater than Avrohom in some aspect, when she died Avrohom elevated himself as a result of the death of his wife. (n.l.)
Ch. 23, v. 4: "V'ek'b'roh meisi milfonoy" - And I will bury my dead from in front of me - Soroh has died. She will not be there in the future to grow with her husband in their holy work. Although she will not be there in the future, all her influence from the past, when she was alive, is still palpable and still living. It is only "milfonoy" that she is dead. (n.l.)
Ch. 24, v. 6: "Hishomer l'cho pen toshiv es bni shomoh" - Guard yourself lest you bring my son there - In verse eight Avrohom again warns Eliezer, "Rake es bni lo sosheiv shomoh." Why was it necessary to again warn Eliezer to not bring Yitzchok to Avrohom's earlier homeland? A second question can be asked, which brings us to the answer. In verse eight Avrohom tells Eliezer that if the woman does not agree to come back with him Eliezer is relieved of his vow. Isn't it obvious? The woman does not want the marriage and there is nothing Eliezer can do about it.
Included in Avrohom's and Eliezer's discussion was that if the woman says no to the proposal Yitzchok should be brought there as a last ditch attempt to bring the marriage to fruition. Avrohom therefore responded that once she says no Eliezer is relieved of his responsibility, and Avrohom has to reiterate to not bring Yitzchok there even if that might salvage the marriage. (Maa'sei Hashem)
Ch. 24, v. 10: "V'chol tuv adonov b'yodo" - And all the good of his master in his hand - All the good Avrohom anticipated was in Eliezer's hand. If he would be successful in finding an appropriate wife for Yitzchok who would agree to become his wife this would bode well for Avrohom, seeing a visible means of fulfillment of the continuation of the awesome destiny of the Jewish people. Besides this there was no real "good" that was meaningful to Avrohom. This "all the good" was in Eliezer's hand. (Hadrash V'ho'iyun)
Ch. 24, v. 20: "Vatishov l'chol g'malov" - And she drew for all his camels - In verse 16 no mention is made of "vatishov," that she drew. The Rada"k says that this is an allusion for the statement of our Rabbis, that in the merit of this tzadekes the waters rose to her. There is no mention of Rivkoh's offering water to the camels from the first fill of the bucket, only here. Although one can say that all the water was used up and she had to go for more water, given that the waters rose miraculously the first time, Eliezer did not want his camels to benefit from a miracle. He did drink from it because he was extremely thirsty, possibly in danger of dehydration. The next fill of water was without a miracle, as Rivkoh drew the water. It was only from this water that he allowed his camels to drink. (Rabbi Meir Arik)
In an earlier edition of Sedrah Selections an issue pertaining to deriving benefit from a miracle was discussed. The water did not come into existence through a miracle. It was that Rivkoh obtained it through a miracle. There might not be a prohibition in this situation.
Ch. 24, v. 29: "Ul'Rivkoh och ushmo Lovon" - And Rivkoh had a brother and his name is Lovon - "Eishes CHayil Mi Yimtza," (Mishlei). Who can find a woman of valour - who would become his wife? The answer to this lies in the first letters of these four words, which create the word "achim." When one pursues a marriage partner he should look into the woman's brothers (gemara B.B.). (Baal Haturim)
Ch. 24, v. 50: "Va'yaan Lovon uVsuel" - And Lovon and Besuel responded - As Rashi comments, Lovon was a wicked person and responded ahead of his father. This is even rude and ill-mannered by the goyishe standards. Why did Lovon behave this way, notwithstanding his poor etiquette, given that a marriage to his sister was in the balance of this meeting? He specifically wanted to sabotage it, based on his knowledge of the maxim that one should check into the brother(s) of the woman before marrying her. (Ksav Sofer)
Ch. 24, v. 67: "Va'yikach es Rivkoh vat'hi lo l'ishoh va'ye'e'ho've'hoh va'yinocheim Yitzchok acha'rei imo" - And he took Rivkoh and she was his wife and he loved her and Yitzchok became consoled after his mother - A most interesting explanation of the connection between Yitzchok's marrying and being consoled for his loss of his mother (see Rashi): It is common for a mother-in-law to be jealous of her daughter-in-law. The mother-in-law has spent the best years of her life tending to all the needs of her son at great emotional and physical cost. He gets married and if it is a healthy marriage his love is much greater for his wife. Although this is the way it should be, nevertheless, the lessening of love for the mother irks her. Yitzchok, after marrying and loving his wife now realizes that had his mother still been alive she would have had some level of pain and aggravation over his being more connected to his wife than to his mother. He therefore was consoled that she had already died and there was no conflict of allegiances. (Tzror Hamor)
Ch. 25, v. 1: "Va'yosef Avrohom va'yikach ishoh" - And Avrohom took another wife - Yitzchok was the one who brought K'turoh (a.k.a. Hogor back) to his father. There is an important lesson here. Many times when a man is a widower the children do not want their father to remarry. This is either because they don't want to introduce an "outsider" into their family unit, or because they feel it is insensitive to their mother's memory to replace her. Yitzchok did not take these ideas into consideration. His father was aging and had no mate. He was proactive in bringing some modicum of happiness into his father's life. This is an important lesson for those who are in this position. (Rabbi Shimshon ben R'fo'el Hirsch)
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