Rabbi O’s Weekly Parsha: Chayei Sara (Genesis 23-25:18) A Crucial Investment

This week’s Torah portion finds Abraham summoning his trusted servant Eliezer to look for a wife for Isaac. This is actually a spiritual matter because Abraham realized that his son would be the one to carry on his teaching of what ultimately would be his greatest gift to the world, ethical monotheism. Not only was Eliezer the most trusted servant in Abraham’s household, he had control of the finances and every other matter of the house, he was also a loyal disciple. It’s therefore difficult to understand why Abraham made Eliezer take an oath that “you not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites” but we never find him asking Eliezer to take an oath in other matters. If you trust someone over your finances and every other aspect of your life, would you doubt that person’s integrity in finding a wife for your son? The commentators point out that Eliezer, who was a Canaanite, had a daughter who he thought was a suitable match for Isaac. Granted, she was “from the daughters of the Canaanites” but being as her father (Eliezer) had reached such an elevated stature in the house of Abraham, perhaps his daughter wasn’t disqualified from marrying Isaac. However, being as he had a vested interest in his daughter marrying Isaac, Abraham required that Eliezer take an oath. Still, the question remains: if Abraham had faith in Eliezer with his money, estate, and every other matter in his life, couldn’t he also count on his trusted disciple to be loyal to him when looking for a wife for Isaac? The answer shows what was truly important in Abraham’s life. Many people take tremendous care of their physical world. They educate themselves in order to have a lucrative career, carefully scrutinize their investments, and spend much of their lives in pursuit of financial security but they don’t have nearly the same commitment to their spiritual endeavors. Things like, what am I living for; am I working as hard as I can to be the best possible wife or husband I can be; am I defined by my job or what I stand (i.e. live) for; does being Jewish have any meaningful ramification in my life? The ultimate litmus test for people is what they choose to make a priority in their life. Abraham is an icon of what it means to be Jewish. The incident of Eliezer demonstrates that when it came to money and other worldly matters, he handed these things over to a trusted person and didn’t think about it. However, when it came to ensuring that his message and life’s mission continue, he needed a higher level of trust. He required Eliezer to take an oath so that he could be assured that his (Abraham’s) spiritual legacy (the Jewish people) would continue. As Jews, we must ask, are we following Abraham’s model? How many people speak to financial advisors, look at charts to monitor their investments, educate themselves on markets, and take other measures in securing their future but seek no guidance in ensuring their spiritual legacy—are we doing our part to make sure there will be committed Jews who are educated and proud enough of their heritage to pass it on to the next generation? Will they support Israel and worry about her survival? These are questions Jews should be concerned with. Abraham made Judaism a bigger priority than his financial affairs. We might not be on that level yet, but being Jewish should be at least as important to us as being fiscally fit. If we’re apathetic and show no real interest to the next generation, will there be a Jewish future? Without the inheritance Abraham bequeathed to us (and if our grandparents and great grandparents hadn’t bought into it) we wouldn’t be here today. Let’s be loyal to the tribe and leave a real inheritance for future generations. Good Shabbos
Read Mo
Got a question?