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Weekly Chizuk

Parashas Chayei Sarah


(From a lecture by Rav Elimelch Biderman)

In Parshas Chaya Sarah we can study all about shidduchim. One of the primary lessons is that we must know that shidduchim are arranged by Hashem. It's not because I chose, or because that person said, or because this or that happened, etc. The shidduch went through because Hashem wanted it to happen. Avraham Avinu said to Eliezer, "Hashem, the G-d of the heavens will send His malach (angel) before you, and you will take a wife for my son" (24:7). Hashem sends His malach and sets up all the steps necessary to enable a shidduch to be finalized.

This is so evident, that even the resha'im, Besuel and Lavan, recognized that Rivka's shidduch was arranged by Hashem. When Eliezer spoke with Besuel and Lavan, and asked them whether they agree to the shidduch, they replied, "It was destined from Hashem. We cannot speak to you bad or good" (24:50).

The Rashbam writes, "[Besuel and Lavan said to Eliezer] to make or to destroy [the shidduch] isn't up to us. We are forced; whether we want to or not, it is HaKadosh Baruch Hu Who has the power, and He does it all."

The Gemara writes, "[We can prove] from the TaNaCh (acronym for Torah, Navi, and Kesuvim) that Hashem arranges marriages. In Chumash it states 'Lavan and Besual said, 'It was destined by Hashem' (Bereshis 24:50). In Navi it states (regarding Shimshon), 'His father and his mother didn't know that it was from Hashem' (Shoftim 14). And in Kesuvim (Mishlei 19), it states, 'A house and wealth is the inheritance from parents, but a wise woman [to her husband] is arranged by Hashem'" (Moed Koton 18).

The Gemara says, "Forty days before a child is formed a bas kol (Heavenly voice) announces, 'bas ploni leploni - this girl will marry this man'" (Sotah 2). Why is the shidduch announced and planned so early? Bederech tzachus (homiletically) it is explained that Hashem wants to finalize the shidduch very early, before the parents can interfere. Chazal tells us, "There are three partners [in the creation of] man: Hakadosh Baruch Hu, the father and the mother. The white parts (the bones, the veins, the nails, the brain, and the white of the eye) come from the father. The mother gives the red aspects (skin, flesh, hair, and the dark part of the eyes.) HaKadosh Baruch Hu gives the spirit (ruach) and the neshamah, the shine of one's face, sight, hearing, speech, walking, and the ability to understand" (Nidah 31.).

Parents are partners with Hashem in the creation of man, and they have a say in the shidduch. Hashem, who knows which shidduch is best for each individual, quickly chooses the right shidduch forty days before his formation, before the other two partners have an opportunity to interfere.

The Torah tells us, " : - therefore one should leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife" (2:24). Based on the Imrei Noam, these words can be translated as follows: " - a person should put aside his desires" (aviv can mean 'his desire', [as in Devarim 25:7])

" -and a person should put aside] his doubts" (imo is from the word, im, if, doubts)

" - and connect to tefillah" and daven for a good shidduch (because ishto is roshei teivos for - "Hashem sfasai tiftach ufi" which is said at the beginning of Shemoneh Esrei).

When The Right Time Comes, The Shidduch Runs

Sometimes a person must wait, until the time is ripe. However, the Beis Yisrael would say, "When the right minute comes, it happens in less than a minute. When we study the shidduch of this week's parashah, we see how quickly things progressed:

"Before Eliezer finished speaking, Rivkah came" (24:15).

"The slave ran to greet her" (24:17).

"She quickly lowered the jug from her hand, and gave him to drink" (24:18).

"She hurriedly poured her jug into the furrow, and she ran again to the well and she drew water for all the camels" (24:20).

Reb Chaim Brisker zt"l explained that all this rushing was needed for this shidduch because Eliezer prayed, "hakrei na lefanay hayom va'asei chesed im adoni Avraham - Please reveal yourself to me today and do chessed with my master, Avraham" (24:12). He prayed that the shidduch should finish today, therefore everything needed to happen rapidly.


The Vilna Gaon zy"a was once a guest in someone's home. When he was ready to leave, his host asked him, "How was it in my home? It's a nice home, isn't it?" The Vilna Gaon thanked him and said that it was a very good achsanyah (guest quarters). Then the Vilna Gaon said, "There was one thing that I noticed while staying in your home, that I wanted to ask you about. I saw that you prepare a coffee for your wife, every morning, even before you made your own coffee. I was wondering why you do this. Is it because of what Chazal say, - one should honor his wife more than he honors himself'?"

The host said, "The answer to your question is the story of my life. When I was thirteen years old, I was a prodigy, already well-versed in Torah, and a wealthy person chose me for his chassan (son-in-law). The chasunah was scheduled for seven years later, when I would be twenty. In the meanwhile, my future father-in-law hired private tutors, so I could grow in Torah. For the next seven years, I learned with these tutors and became a talmid chacham. When I turned twenty, and it was time for the chasunah, my future father-in-law lost all his money.

"Personally, I wanted to continue with this shidduch, because I had hakaras hatov (appreciation) for the seven years that he supplied me with tutors, but my father didn't permit the marriage. He refused to allow his son, who had become a talmid chacham, to marry a poor girl.

"Another shidduch was suggested, and I married a girl from a wealthy family. Soon after the marriage, we discovered that I have a mum (a congenital illness). My father-in-law spent a lot of money to cure me, but in the end, the doctors said that there was nothing they could do; there was no cure. This was a very hard moment in my life. My father-in-law asked me to divorce his daughter, and I obliged.

"First a broken shiduch, then a divorce I felt that my life was in shambles. Depressed, I began to live with other lost souls in the hekdesh. (The hekdesh was a communal 'room and board' for the homeless.) Someone I knew saw me in the hekdesh and was shocked. He said, 'You have so much potential in Torah; how did you end up here?' I told him what happened to me. Some time later, this man returned, and offered me a shidduch. 'The girl has the very same mum as you have,' he told me.

"We met and we married. After the chasunah, she said, 'You were born with your mum, but I was born healthy. I developed the mum later on in my life.' She told me that she was once engaged to marry a Torah scholar, but because her father lost his money, the shidduch was called off. She was so depressed that she became ill.

"I asked her some questions, and I discovered that her original chassan was me! She was my first shidduch and she became ill, on my account! Doesn't she deserve a cup of coffee each morning?"

The Vilna Gaon was very happy that he heard this story, and exclaimed, "If I came here only to hear this story, it would also be worthwhile," because it demonstrates Hashem's Hand in shidduchim. If a shidduch is destined to be, it will happen. (Obviously, the first shidduch was also from Hashem. Everything happens as Hashem plans it.)

In parashas Bereishis, the Torah tells us, ' ... - Hashem cast a deep sleep onto Adam, he slept, and Hashem took one of his ribs [and created Chavah]." This is how the first shidduch came to be. Bederech tzachus, this reminds the older singles, who are worried about when they will find their shidduch, that they need not worry, because Hashem is taking care of them. The Torah tells them, "Just go to sleep - don't worry and don't disturb. Everything will be taken care of. Hashem is working for you, arranging your beshert from heaven."

The Brisker Rav zy"a asked, isn't everything from Hashem? Why does the Gemara single out shidduchim? The Brisker Rav answered that the gemara is telling us that shidduchim are entirely from heaven, and even hishtadlus isn't necessary. "If so," he asked, "why do people make hishtadlus? And why do I make hishtadlus? It is only to calm the nerves, but it really isn't needed." When someone asked the Satmar rebbe how much hishtadlus he should make for shidduchim, the Satmar Rebbe told him, "Speak to the shadchan once a week." Our intention isn't that one shouldn't make hishtadlus, but to know that there is nothing to worry about. Hashem is arranging the shidduch in wondrous ways.

Wishing Everyone A Gut Shabbos!

Rabbi Eliezer Parkoff
4 Panim Meirot, Jerusalem 94423 Israel
Tel: 732-858-1257
Rabbi Parkoff is author of "Chizuk!" and "Trust Me!" (Feldheim Publishers), and "Mission Possible!" (Israel Book Shop Lakewood).
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