Office of the Chief Rabbi

D’var Torah: Parashat Chayei Sarah

From Eliezer we learn, God helps those who live their entire life in order to help others.

Our sages teach, Gadol Sichatam Shel Avdei Avot Betorotam Shel Banim – the everyday mundane conversation of the servants of the founders of our faith, is of greater relevance to us than the formal instruction that follows.

They are referring to Eliezer, sent by Avraham Avinu to Mesopotamia, to find a wife for Yitzchak. This is featured in the longest chapter of the whole book of Bereishit – Chapter 24. In 67 long verses, we are told about Eliezer’s thoughts, his plans for the test at the well side, how he executed it. It’s all very expansive.

However, later on in the Torah, when we are given the specific do’s and don’ts of Jewish law, then everything is very concise. So what we find here is that from a person who is not a member of our faith, we learn so much about our lives.

‘So what we find here is that from a person who is not a member of our faith, we learn so much about our lives’

Now if, let’s say, in a classroom at school, the children will be performing a play about this week’s Parasha, and a kid arrives home and he announces to his family – I’m going to be Eliezer! I think that everybody will be really chuffed, because that certainly would be the key role.

Interestingly however, let’s have a look at the number of times in which people’s names are mentioned in the Parasha. Avraham’s name is mentioned on no less than 37 occasions; Yitzchak’s – 13; Rivkah – 12, Sarah – 9; Ephron – 9; Bethuel – 4; Lavan – 3; and Eliezer – 0.

His name actually doesn’t appear. He is the main character but he either referred to as Ha’eved – the servant or Ha’ish – the man.

I think that this presents to us a very profound message. We have internalised his values, we have taken on his message, he is there as that role model in that longest chapter but it’s not his name that counts, it’s what he taught the world that matters.

‘Their names might not be in neon lights, but they are our most outstanding characters’

In similar fashion, the great heroes and heroines of this world are mainly those men and women who behind the scenes are great family people, who contribute to their community. Their names might not be in neon lights, but they are our most outstanding characters.

They are the Eliezer’s and his name says it all. Eliezer – my God is my help. The almighty certainly helps those, who live an entire life in order to help others.

Shabbat Shalom.

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