In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. Prov.3;6 ב”ה
“Let’s make the next few minutes last forever….”
Chayei Sarah- Becoming the Bride 5778
The purchase of the Machpelah cave by Avraham is the first of three incontestable acquisitions of the land of Israel that the holy Torah testifies to. The others are Kever Yosef, the tomb of Yosef, built upon land purchased by our patriarch Yaakov, and the threshing floor of Arvona, purchased by King David, upon which was built the Holy Temple. It is these three places precisely that our enemies currently seek to steal from Israel, using lies and deceptions, knowing full well that these three places are the three pillars upon which the world stands and the three foundation stones upon which Israel’s settlement of the land rests firmly and eternally.
These are the very places that there is battle regarding. The Jewish people and the nation of Israel’s connection to the Land is indisputable. Those fighting for control of these sites know that if they lose their supervision over them, they will lose hold over the entire land and thus they fight with Israel over these three places. – from Rabbi Chaim Richman on Chayei Sarah
If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8;31
So in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone. Let them go! For if their purpose or endeavor is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God.” Acts 5; 38-39
In this lesson’s parasha, Chayei Sarah (the Life of Sarah) we read about her death. It is taught that the Akeida (the binding of Yitsach), which took place in the previous chapter, was too much for her to bear and that she died (either upon hearing of what happened, or from exertions of happiness that Yitsach hadn’t been ‘killed’, the general stress this would put upon a woman of her age, etc.) We now find ourselves and our protagonist, Avraham avinu, saying goodbye to Sarah. Sarah is the first person in the Torah whose burial is recorded, she is also the first person in Torah cried over by her spouse and she is the first person eulogized by her spouse. ( Note that the last verse’s of perek 22 and that of the burial of are mute in mentioning another main “character”, Ber. 22;19 So Abraham returned to his young men, and they arose and went together to Beersheba… The same could be said for the following verse. Where is Yitsach? )
- B’reshit 23;1 Now Sarah lived one hundred and twenty-seven years; these were the years of the life of Sarah. 2 Sarah died in Kiriath-arba (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan; and Abraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her. 3 Then Abraham rose from before his dead, and spoke to the sons of Heth, saying, 4 “I am a stranger and a sojourner גֵּר וְתוֹשָׁב among you; give me a burial site among you that I may bury my dead out of my sight.”
גֵּר וְתוֹשָׁב Ger Toshav- a Stranger and Sojourner…
- Vayikra 25;35 “Now in case a countryman of yours becomes poor and his means with regard to you falter, then you are to sustain him, like a stranger or a sojourner גֵּר וְתוֹשָׁב, that he may live with you. 36 ‘Do not take usurious interest from him, but revere your God, that your countryman may live with you. 37 ‘You shall not give him your silver at interest, nor your food for gain.
# (v) guwr גּוּר – to tarry as a sojourner, stranger. Turning aside.
- Ber. 19:9 But they said, “Stand aside.” Furthermore, they said, “This one came in as an alien, and already he is acting like a judge; now we will treat you worse than them.” So they pressed hard agains Lot and came near to break the door.
# (masc n) ger / gar גָּר – a sojourner, stranger, foreigner, a person living out of his own country.
- Ber.15:13 God said to Abram, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years.
- Ber. 23:4 “I am a stranger and a sojourner among you; give me a burial site among you that I may bury my dead out of my sight.”
- Shem.2:22 Then she gave birth to a son, and he named him Gershom, for he said, “I have been a sojourner in a foreign land.”
# 3427 (v) yashav יָשַׁב – to sit, to sit down, to remain, abide, to dwell, to inhabit.
- Ber. 13:12 Abram settled in the land of Canaan, while Lot settled in the cities of the valley, and moved his tents as far as Sodom.
- Ber. 18:1 Now the LORD appeared to him by the oaks of Mamre, while he was sitting at the tent door in the heat of the day.
#8453 (masc.n) toshav תּוֹשָׁב- a stranger, and emigrant.
- Vayikra 25;23 ‘The land, moreover, shall not be sold permanently, for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners גֵרִים וְתֹושָׁבִים gerim v’toshavim with Me. 24 ‘Thus for every piece of your property, you are to provide for the redemption of the land. 25 ‘If a fellow countryman of yours becomes so poor he has to sell part of his property, then his nearest kinsman is to come and buy back what his relative has sold. 26 ‘Or in case a man has no kinsman, but so recovers his means as to find sufficient for its redemption, 27 then he shall calculate the years since its sale and refund the balance to the man to whom he sold it, and so return to his property.
Perhaps Avraham has felt for some time that he is a ger in this kind of world. He is coming from the “seat” of Idolatry (from Ur of the Chaldeans), from pagan roots and he is making his way toward an increasingly significant destiny. Having been called by Hashem Avraham has responded at every turn. As we learned in the last lesson, he (as all of us could be) is grasping at higher levels of closeness, love and fear (which is awe) of Hashem. As Avraham experiences tests, he (as all of us could be) learns how to take all that he has been blessed with and build it into something he never thought he’d be capable of before.
Within the test is the answer, and the test is for the benefit of the student.
Ber. 23; 5 The sons of Heth answered Abraham, saying to him, 6 “Hear us, my lord, you are a mighty prince among us; bury your dead in the choicest of our graves; none of us will refuse you his grave for burying your dead.” 7 So Abraham rose and bowed to the people of the land, the sons of Heth. 8 And he spoke with them, saying, “If it is your wish for me to bury my dead out of my sight, hear me, and approach Ephron the son of Zohar for me, 9 that he may give me the cave of Machpelah which he owns, which is at the end of his field; for the full price let him give it to me in your presence for a burial site.” 10 Now Ephron was sitting among the sons of Heth; and Ephron the Hittite answered Abraham in the hearing of the sons of Heth; even of all who went in at the gate of his city, saying, 11“No, my lord, hear me; I give you the field, and I give you the cave that is in it. In the presence of the sons of my people I give it to you; bury your dead.” 12 And Abraham bowed before the people of the land. 13 He spoke to Ephron in the hearing of the people of the land, saying, “If you will only please listen to me; I will give the price of the field, accept it from me that I may bury my dead there.” 14 Then Ephron answered Abraham, saying to him, 15 “My lord, listen to me; a piece of land worth four hundred shekels of silver, what is that between me and you? So bury your dead.” 16 Abraham listened to Ephron; and Abraham weighed out for Ephron the silver which he had named in the hearing of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, commercial standard. 17 So Ephron’s field, which was in Machpelah, which faced Mamre, the field and cave which was in it, and all the trees which were in the field, that were within all the confines of its border, were deeded over 18 to Abraham for a possession in the presence of the sons of Heth, before all who went in at the gate of his city. 19 After this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field at Machpelah facing Mamre (that is, Hebron) in the land of Canaan. 20 So the field and the cave that is in it, were deeded over to Abraham for a burial site by the sons of Heth.
This is one of the most important tasks of any Patriarch. To ensure that difficult endeavors such as burial of loved ones is not only considered with forethought but prepared for monetarily. Avraham has purchased the burial site where his generations will rest. Although the people clearly respect Avraham, calling him a prince among them, he teaches us the importance of humility and modesty in negotiations. (Note:The bowing he does is not in veneration, it is according to respect and custom.) Avraham also teaches us wisdom and insight into the fickle nature of people. Generally the human mind is temperamental. Opinions can change from moment to moment. The text tells us repeatedly, specifically who Avraham is dealing with. בְנֵי חֵת B’neiy Chet-The children of Heth, over and over to ensure that we read in this ancient and historical document that in the “sight and hearing” of all the people of this land this legal agreement was made. This acquisition was performed with more than enough witnesses and it is our obligation to continue to bear witness. The land is entrusted to the children of Avraham, the Jewish people, to Israel. Avraham refuses to take the parcel as a gift because a gift can be retracted upon the whim of the bestower of the gift. Avraham “listens” to what Ephron is saying when he mentions a specific and exorbitant price and he pays.
Acts 7;2 …And Stephen declared: “Brothers and fathers, listen to me! The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham while he was still in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, 3 and told him, ‘Leave your country and your kindred and go to the land I will show you.’ 4 So Abraham left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After his father died, God brought him out of that place, into this land where you are now living. 5 He gave him no inheritance here, not even a foot of ground. But God promised to give possession of the land to Abraham and his descendants, even though he did not yet have a child. 6 God told him that his descendants would be foreigners in a strange land, and they would be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years….15 So Jacob went down to Egypt, where he and our fathers died. 16Their bones were carried back to Shechem and placed in the tomb that Abraham had bought from the sons of Hamor at Shechem for a price he paid in silver.
- The Acts text describes the purchase of the Cave as one of the most important things Avraham did because it forever sealed the proof that the Land was duly purchased. It became a touchstone for the future generations. [I’d like to note that when put on trial for his life, Steven bases his entire defense on the Torah narrative…]
Planning for the future, Avraham recognizes his coming death. Confronted with challenge, stress and loss, the next thing Avraham does is realize that his son Yitsach should be married. The promise given to him by God will necessitate physical progeny therefore Avraham calls the most trusted of his disciples.
“…Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher. Luke 6; 39-40
B’reshit 24; 1Now Abraham was old, advanced in age; and the LORD had blessed Abraham in every way. 2 Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his household, who had charge of all that he owned, “נָא Please place your hand under my thigh, 3 and I will make you swear by the LORD, the God of heaven and the God of earth, that you shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I live, 4 but you will go to my country and to my relatives, and take a wife for my son Isaac.”
Many have taken the comparison of Eleazar going to take Rivka as a wife for Yitsach to parallel the concept of Messiah sending his disciples to gather in his Bride. I believe this could be a reasonable connection, but if so let us follow this thinking through ‘completely’. Avraham commands Eleazar not to go into the nations but rather from his own kin to claim his bride. Perhaps this lines up as Yeshua frequently indicates he is looking to “claim” the lost of the house of Israel…bringing his brethren unto himself. A (vast) majority of the first ‘members’ of the early (so called) “church” was made up of Jewish men and women who came to faith in Messiah Yeshua. From there the gospel spread and people from the nations were enabled to come into the body always via the promises given first to Israel and fulfilled by Yeshua.
It is Avraham’s command that the bride be sought from his own kin, the Bride of Messiah is sought first from the Jew’s via the Father’s Command.
- Romans 1;16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, then to the Greek.
- Romans 15;8 For I tell you that Messiah has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, to confirm the promises to the patriarchs, 9 so that the Gentiles may glorify God for His mercy.
- Matthew 15;24 “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
- Matthew 10;5 These twelve Yeshua sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go onto the road of the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. 6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. 7As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers,a drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give. 9 Do not carry any gold or silver or copper in your belts. 10 Take no bag for the road, or second tunic, or sandals, or staff; for the worker is worthy of his provisions.
- [B’reshit 32;10 “O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O LORD, who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your relatives, and I will prosper you,’ 10 I am unworthy of all the lovingkindness and of all the faithfulness which You have shown to Your servant; for with my staff only I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two companies. ]
- Mark 13; 10 And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all the nations. 11 But when they arrest you and hand you over, do not worry beforehand what to say. Instead, speak whatever you are given at that time, for it will not be you speaking, but the Holy Spirit. 12 Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rise against their parents and have them put to death. 13 You will be hated by everyone on account of My name, but the one who perseveres to the end will be saved.
While Yeshua was among us he took on the role of servant and helper,
he was sent to claim the Bride.
When he was risen and ascended the apostles took on that role.
B’reshit 24;5 The servant said to him, “Suppose the woman is not willing to follow me to this land; should I take your son back to the land from where you came?” 6 Then Abraham said to him, “Beware that you do not take my son back there! 7“The LORD, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my birth, and who spoke to me and who swore to me, saying, ‘To your descendants I will give this land,’ He will send His angel before you, and you will take a wife for my son from there. 8 “But if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be free from this my oath; only do not take my son back there.” 9 So the servant placed his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and swore to him concerning this matter.
Yitsach had been consecrated to Hashem, there at The Place, at Mt. Moriah, at the site of the Future Temple he was bound atop the Altar to Hashem. He was at that point considered to be a “holy thing”. He was not to leave the “compounds” (the courtyard) of the Land of Canaan. We will later read in Torah that offerings, Holy Things, are not to be taken from the Courtyard. Avraham is explicit with Eleazar regarding these instructions and he was even willing to release his servant from that vow if the alternative was taking Isaac abroad, something which Abraham was certainly not going to allow. The idea that Isaac was like a burnt offering and confined to the land could be verified by God’s own caution to him not to go down to Egypt.
- B’reshit 26;1 Now there was a famine in the land…so Isaac went to Gerar, to Abimelech king of the Philistines. 2 The LORD appeared to him and said, “Do not go down to Egypt; stay in the land of which I shall tell you. 3 “Sojourn in this land and I will be with you and bless you, for to you and to your descendants I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to your father Abraham.
- Vayikra 6; 26 ‘The priest who offers it for sin shall eat it. It shall be eaten in a holy place, in the court of the tent of meeting.
- Vayikra 10; 13″You shall eat it, moreover, in a holy place, because it is your due and your sons’ due out of the LORD’S offerings by fire; for thus I have been commanded.
- Devarim 12; 26 “Only your holy things which you may have and your votive offerings, you shall take and go to the place which the LORD chooses. (Always referring to the Holy Altar for Korbanot in the Mishkan, and later in Jerusalem at the Beis Hamikdash- the Holy Temple. The same site of the Akeidah.)
#410 El אֵל- God. #5828 (masc n) ezer עֵזֶר- aide, help; a helper, aider.
- B’reshit 2:18 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”
- Sh’mot 18:2 Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, took Moses’ wife Zipporah, after he had sent her away, 3 and her two sons, of whom one was named Gershom, for Moses said, “I have been a sojourner in a foreign land.”4 The other was name Eliezer, for he said, “The God of my father was my help, and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh.”
אֶלְעָזָר “My God Helps”- Eleazar
Eleazar has made a vow, he comes speaking in the Authority of his master. He recognizes that no plan will prosper if it be contrary to Hashem’s plans. Eleazar is sent to fetch a bride for the promised seed. Eleazar is surely walking in Avraham’s example. For a true disciple only does what his master has shown him. (John 5;19 So Yeshua replied, “Truly, truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing by Himself, unless He sees the Father doing it. For whatever the Father does, the Son also does. – This is one reason we can presume that Yeshua, as a Torah observant Jewish man, living the heart of the commandments He ‘penned’, would not have a disciple speaking contrary to his example. Any disciple of Yeshua would have the same teaching upon his lips, this is one reason I believe that Paul’s writings are misinterpreted as being contrary to the Torah. Galatians 1;1 Paul, an apostle—sent not from men nor by man, but by Yeshua Messiah and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead 2 and all the brothers with me…)
Eleazar is Avraham’s ‘second in command’, he is closest to Avraham, at one point Avraham supposes he will be his successor (some proof of the quality of Eleazar and his own attachment to Hashem.)
- B’reshit 15;2 Abram said, “O Lord GOD, what will You give me, since I am childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “Since You have given no offspring to me, one born in my house is my heir.” 4 Then behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “This man will not be your heir; but one who will come forth from your own body, he shall be your heir.”…
It is taught that Eleazar came up from Ur with Avraham. At that point he was an idolater looking for something…Avraham says he is “born” in his house. Indeed he must be speaking of being “born again”- finding and walking in the ways of Hashem.The great amount of trust Avraham shows in appointing Eleazar to this task (Avraham may be too old or physically unable to make this journey but Eleazar is no “spring chicken” himself) tells us much about the relationship between these two men. Eleazar is taking all the good things of His Master out to the nations !
Avraham choosing Eleazar, most trusted of his house, an elder who would make a mature decision. Eleazar would not be choosing the bride based upon her appearance
(or upon his lust) but upon her character and quality.
Through the eyes of experience,wisdom and maturity the Bride is chosen.
Continuing on, let us consider some parallel’s between Avraham Avinu and Rivka.
Rivka’s trait of kindness parallels the description of Avraham’s own trait of kindness. The servant asks of her, “Let me drink a little water, I pray you, from your pitcher” (24:17), while Avraham had told his guests, “Let a little water be taken, I pray you, that you may wash your feet”. Avraham speaks little but acts quickly to carry out much more than he promised: Avraham hurried to the tent, to Sara, and said, “Prepare quickly three measures of find flour”… and Avraham ran to the herd and took a calf that was tender and good, and gave it to the young man, and he hurried to prepare it. (18:6-7) Similarly, Rivka: She hurried to lower her pitcher… and she hurried to empty her pitcher into the trough, and she ran again to the well to draw water. (24:18-20)
Lech Lecha- Go forth…Will you go…
Avraham asks of his servant, “Rather, go to my country and my birthplace” (24:4). When the servant recounts this to his hosts he adds, “And my master made me swear, saying, ‘You shall not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites in whose land I dwell. But you shall go to my father’s house…’” (v 37-38) These words parallel Avraham’s first test: “Go forth from your land and from your birthplace and from your father’s house.” (12:1)
This is indeed a difficult test for Rivka, who is asked to leave her family and go alone to a man she has never seen, it shows the inner strength that is concealed behind her simple and courageous expression of agreement:
B’reshit 24;55 But her brother and her mother said, “Let the girl stay with us a few days, say ten; afterward she may go.” 56 He said to them, “Do not delay me, since the LORD has prospered my way. Send me away that I may go to my master.” 57 And they said, “We will call the girl and consult her wishes.” 58 Then they called Rebekah and said to her, “Will you go with this man?” And she said, “I will go.”
Avraham lived in a pagan environment, and from within it he is chosen: “Your fathers once dwelled on the other side of the river – Terach, the father of Avraham and the father of Nachor – and they served other gods. And I took your father, Avraham, from the other side of the river.” (Yehoshua 24:2-3)
Rivka has grown up in exactly the same environment, with all its ills. Like Avraham, she too has succeeded in maintaining a path of righteousness and kindness, and when the appointed time comes, she too is ready to answer the call to go to God’s land. This parallel with Avraham emphasizes the ability to develop a unique personality, separated from the pagan environment that is such a negative influence.
If we consider “seeking the bride” for the Son of Promise we could use Rivka’s example and picture for what the “Bride” of the Messiah should look like. Not her physical characteristics but rather her attributes. All the attributes of Rivka are characteristics for the Bride to emulate. She is asked for a sip, and goes above and beyond!
Matthew 5;38 You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye and tooth for tooth. 39 But I tell you not to resist an evil person. If someone slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also; 40 if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well; 41and if someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
B’reshit 24; 10 Then the servant took ten camels from the camels of his master, and set out with a variety of good things of his master’s in his hand; and he arose and went to Mesopotamia, to the city of Nahor. 11He made the camels kneel down outside the city by the well of water at evening time, the time when women go out to draw water. 12 He said, “O LORD, the God of my master Abraham, נָא please grant me success today, and show lovingkindness חֶסֶד to my master Abraham. 13 “Behold, I am standing by the spring, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming out to draw water; 14 now may it be that the girl to whom I say, ‘נָא Please let down your jar so that I may drink,’ and who answers, ‘Drink, and I will water your camels also’—may she be the one whom You have appointed for Your servant Isaac; and by this I will know that You have shown lovingkindness to my master.” 15 Before he had finished speaking, behold, Rebekah who was born to Bethuel the son of Milcah, the wife of Abraham’s brother Nahor, came out with her jar on her shoulder.
Matthew 6;8-10…your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.“Pray, then, in this way: ‘Our Father who is in heaven, hallowed be Your name. ‘Your kingdom come. Your will be done…
I have always been taken with Eleazar’s prayer. Perhaps the most outstanding point is that he is answered “while he is yet speaking”. Who wouldn’t love this outcome for our prayers? Bearing in mind that the main purpose of prayer could be for closeness with Hashem, not to make a request…but as Yeshua stated above, the Father knows all our needs and even so he instructs us to pray. Is there a right way to pray? Are there “right” things to ask for? So let us consider Eleazar’s model for prayer. First of all, before he deigns to derive any accomplishment- he prays. Prayer could be the very most important starting point for anything good to come forth from our lives.
“God of my master Avraham…”
He calls to mind his master, not his own righteousness or any merit that he may hold. He mentions his master and asks on his behalf, calling to mind the deep relationship that Avraham and Hashem have established. In calling him is master he seeks God’s favor in that he is going forth to accomplish a task in the name of this family Hashem loves.
“נָא please, grant me success קָרָה…”
נָא – Na= indeed, now, I pray thee, PLEASE. The first 4 times נָא please is found in Torah comes from the mouth of Avraham. When he intercede’s for Sodom he says נָא repeatedly. The next man who uses this word is Lot (imitating his mentor’s ways), and then Eleazar. He is following the way of his master in humility as he asks Hashem, please…furthermore he requests that he be granted success. This word קָרָה karah (#7136) is fascinating. It is first found here in Eleazar’s prayer and next in the context of the deception of Yitsach. I believe this could clue us into the reason Ya’acov uses this language, and why Yitsach (in my opinion) allowed the ‘ruse’ to continue. [Isaac said to his son, “How is it that you have it so quickly, my son?” And he said, “Because the LORD your God caused it to happen to me.”] Eleazar asks for success, but this is a God ordained success. This is not for personal gain or prosperity.
“and show lovingkindness to my master Abraham….”
While it may be inappropriate for the penitent to ask for favor on behalf of his own good deeds, I believe that someone who prays for you could call to mind the merits of your good deeds and heart for Hashem. (I have often found myself asking for favor for my wonderful brothers or sisters and calling to mind before Hashem their merits and service.) Eleazar uses the word “חֶסֶד Chessed”-lovingkindness; this is the very character trait Avraham Avinu is ‘famous’ for. It is not as though Hashem hasn’t seen, didn’t know or has forgotten the man that Avraham is. By Eleazar using this term he is identifying that Avraham has made an impact on his life and thus is making testimony that Hashem has been seen through this man on the earth (fulfilling the design of man being in the tselem Elohim- ‘image’ of the Creator.) Eleazar’s prayers are not just for himself, not for a request that he has for his own interests, Eleazar is praying for ‘others’. THE FAITHFUL SERVANT INCLUDES OTHERS IN HIS PRAYERS.
“… now may it be…”
Eleazar is not asking for some superstitious sign, he is asking that Hashem make it corporeally clear to him on a realistic level precisely who HE ordains to be the Bride for the son of Promise (Yitsach). Eleazar is not asking for anything wondrous, he is asking for something very ‘earthly’. At the same time, this ‘sign’ will give hints toward the inner makeup of this bride. We will talk more about the Characteristics for the Bride that Rivkah teaches us.
Eleazar is answered before he even finishes the requests to Hashem. This is indeed amazing if you have ever experienced the similar- Hashem responds to your prayers before you even have to worry or be concerned.
Eleazar’s prayer is in the direction which will accord with Hashem’s will. Perhaps when praying we could ask ourselves, “would this align with Hashem’s will?” (which can be determined through what we have come to know about Him through His word and our personal experience with Him.)
B’reshit 24;26 Then the man bowed low and worshiped the Lord. 27 He said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken His lovingkindness and His truth toward my master; as for me, the Lord has guided me in the way to the house of my master’s brothers.”
Worshipping God for His response…
This is perhaps the most important part of prayer. Acknowledging that God has taken an interest in your life and praising Him for His work in it. It’s easy to recieve and then forget. Eleazar shows us this wonderful example in that the first thing he does is worship God for answering his prayers. He is not ashamed to stop everything (although this is a very exciting moment and there surely is a lot to do now…) and openly bow to Hashem and praise Him as if no one were watching. Rivkah is watching and when she sees this and hears what he has said, she runs to announce it to her whole family. (Think of all the times in the Apostolic scriptures when someone encountered an act of God and then ran to announce it to their family, community, etc. John 4;28-29; Luke 24;9; Matthew 8;33; Acts 16;31)
Eleazar will not eat or be refreshed until he has given testimony to Rivkah’s family. The Torah has him repeating the entire account of what took place in detail (again). He doesn’t hold back with the “religious” language- even though Laban is an idolater. He unashamedly praises God and expresses the destiny rife nature of this mission and the circumstances they all find themselves a part of. Even if he does not leave this place with the bride- he has still planted seeds which will cause hearts to take notice, if not now…in the future. This is the essence of testifying.
In taking up the continuation of this lesson after a lengthy break I believe now would be the appropriate time to ask for and remind us all to pray for dearest Lilly. She is bravely facing her second round of battle with Cancer and in keeping with Eleazar’s example…I pray that her complete healing will be wholly in the good will and plan of Hashem. Our continued learning is in the name of her refuah Shelemah, so may it be…Amein.
Tehillim 20;1 May the LORD answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob set you securely on high! 2 May He send you help from the sanctuary and support you from Zion! 3 May He remember all your meal offerings and find your burnt offering acceptable! Selah. 4 May He grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your counsel! 5 We will sing for joy over your victory, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners. May the LORD fulfill all your petitions.
Tehillim 21; 1O LORD, in Your strength the king will be glad, and in Your salvation how greatly he will rejoice! 2 You have given him his heart’s desire, and You have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah. 3 For You meet him with the blessings of good things; You set a crown of fine gold on his head. 4 He asked life of You, You gave it to him, length of days forever and ever. 5 His glory is great through Your salvation, Splendor and majesty You place upon him. 6 For You make him most blessed forever; You make him joyful with gladness in Your presence.
Eleazar and Yeshua, Parallel’s and Example for ‘evangelism’
Evangelism, what does this word mean to you? It is defined as: the preaching or promulgation of the gospel; the work of an evangelist. I would say that the meaning is to share the wonder and truth of the bible and the God of the bible as well as the lessons learned through our personal lives with those outside of ourselves. Some take a more aggressive approach, others are more casual. Whatever your conviction may be, at some point if you love the Lord you will want to share this love and knowledge of Him with others. In some circles of the Christian church I feel that the term (and method shown by the people of the bible’s example) has been grotesquely at times…manipulated, misinterpreted and mortified. Some leave slips of paper disguised as money in bathroom stalls, upon a closer look the finder will notice a hidden message on the phony bill regarding eternal damnation and the route for its evasion. Others meet a person give them a bible say a rote prayer and disappear into the background, leaving the holder of this book with as elusive of a message or track to follow as their presence had just been. To uncover the prototype for successful and Spirit filled evangelism we can look again to Eleazar’s example which mirrors that of Yeshua.
John4; 7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Yeshua said to her, “Give Me a drink.” 8(His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) 9“You are a Jew,” said the woman. “How can You ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) 10 Yeshua answered, “If you knew the gift of God and who is asking you for a drink, you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” 11“Sir,” the woman replied, “You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where then will You get this living water? 12 Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us this well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock?” 13 Yeshua said to her, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again. 14 But whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a fount of water springing up to eternal life.” (28Then the woman left her water jar, went back into the town, and said to the people, 29“Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?”)
B’reshit 24;22 When the camels had finished drinking, the man took a gold ring weighing a half-shekel and two bracelets for her wrists weighing ten shekels in gold, 23and said, “Whose daughter are you? Please tell me, is there room for us to lodge in your father’s house?” 24She said to him, “I am the daughter of Bethuel, the son of Milcah, whom she bore to Nahor.” 25Again she said to him, “We have plenty of both straw and feed, and room to lodge in.” 26Then the man bowed low and worshiped the LORD. 27He said, “Blessed be the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who has not forsaken His lovingkindness and His truth toward my master; as for me, the LORD has guided me in the way to the house of my master’s brothers.” 28Then the girl ran and told her mother’s household about these things.
Step1- Establish a Relationship
Yeshua visited with people in their homes, he ate long meals with them. Yeshua frequented the same places on numerous occasions.
Eleazar stepped back and watched first, he listened, he observed, he prayed, he tried to establish a connection with this young lady before he told her about the prize he offered.
- If you are not ready to give of yourself in a genuine way, giving genuine time, opening up your life genuinely, offering genuine care, the “conversion” or acceptance of faith will not be genuine.
I must as you to connect with me first before I can think about asking you to connect with Him.
Step 2- Don’t Orchestrate, Utilize.
Yeshua had people chasing after him to learn about his ways and that of the Father. Nevertheless, he used every opportunity he was in to tell the truth about Hashem and himself. Whether he was in the synagogue, on a boat fishing, in a tax collectors house, walking down the street…he utilized every occasion to speak about Hashem and to teach a lesson to the hearer, a lesson that would be understood because of the time and place they found themselves in. He spoke in ways they could often relate to.
- Eleazar uses the circumstance to constitute his outreach to Rivka. Both men use the opportunity to start a conversation. Instead of propping up a tent, putting on a show, and decorating the truth to be more attractive before it could be given… these men used “Lifestyle evangelism”.
I could be ready with the truth upon my heart and willing to give it at even the most casual moment of day to day life…
Step 3- Get Real
Yeshua has no pretense or ulterior motives. He unashamedly speaks the truth to all his audiences. He makes no promises he does not keep. He loves each person where they are and for who they have the potential to become. He is absolutely genuinely ready to give up his life for every single person he comes into contact (and we well know, far beyond just them.)
Eleazar is upfront about his intentions. He asks the bride straightforward questions and responds with clear intentions regarding his commission. He loves his master and doesn’t want to fail him yet he will not take any shortcuts in fulfilling his vows to him. Both men are Genuine and real.
- Both of their interfacing attempts are real and genuine. Yeshua engages the woman at the well with real (yet thought provoking) questions. Eleazar took the time to study Rivka before speaking with her. Just like the treasure Yeshua spoke of to the woman…Eleazar didn’t adorn Rivka with fake jewelry.
I can think up the perfect thing to say, but if it is not the purest realest treasure to me, then I am coming with empty uninspired hands.
Let us never underestimate the power of prayer…Yeshua and Eleazar both pray repeatedly concerning their earthly missions. A true evangelist must be willing to allow people in to get to know you before they can desire to get to know Messiah Yeshua.
Ephesians 5; 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Messiah also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.
God speaks to Israel…His Bride: Hosea 2;19 “I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice, In lovingkindness and in compassion,20 And I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness. Then you will know the LORD.
B’reshit 24;62 Now Isaac had come from going to Beer-lahai-roi; for he was living in the Negev. 63 Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening; and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, camels were coming. 64 Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac she dismounted from the camel. 65 She said to the servant, “Who is that man walking in the field to meet us?” And the servant said, “He is my master.” Then she took her veil and covered herself. 66 The servant told Isaac all the things that he had done. 67 Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and he took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her; thus Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.
Rivka displays the characteristics of Yitsach’s father, when he brings her into his home he realizes she will also carry on the legacy of his mother. She is the perfect bride who will bring her own personality to the values and legacy the Son of Promise holds dearest. She will teach their children of Hashem’s ways and walk in them side by side with her husband.
#157 (v) ahav אָהַב- to desire, to breathe after, to delight, a friend, to love. [The following are the first 3 consecutive places with this verbal shoresh translated as love is found.]
- B’reshit 22:2 He said, “Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.”
- B’reshit 24:67 Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and he took Rebekah, and she became his wife, and he loved her; thus Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.
- B’reshit 25;28 Now Isaac loved Esau, because he had a taste for game, but Rebekah loved Jacob.
The context of Yitsach and Rivka is the first place where “love” is found between marital partners. This is an account of true love. Unlike many of the other Patriarch’s and Matriarch’s there is no other partner in either of their lives. They pray together for children and it’s only after the children arrive that this seemingly “fairy tale” story becomes disrupted. In the next lessons we will read on about Avraham and his descendants.
Love– whether we still be seeking it or seeking to share it, let it be tempered with wisdom. Real love is lasting because it is not based upon emotion or the fickle whims of humankind. Unlike Ephron who ‘performs’ in postulating, Rivka says and actually does. This is real affection, true display of respect and honor. This author has recently been challenged to bend and bow to the politically correct. I would rather sacrifice my own reputation to be known as intolerant than to be known as lukewarm in my love where it counts. Loving others doesn’t mean that we absorb what is contrary to God’s design for holiness. Love doesn’t mean to stand behind a whim of man, however beautiful the facade may appear. Peace in the Middle East is as elusive as honesty in the media…everything is relative today but not when it comes to the Eternal words of Hashem. He promised Avraham the Land that he trod upon, He has kept this promise to Avraham’s descendants. They are the rightful caretakers of the Land of Promise and nothing will snatch it from His hand- for it is His alone to give. Much like the Bride of the Messiah- He has the sovereign choice of those whom he calls. While the door is open to all, not all are destined to walk through and into Him. We should love all people enough to tell them the truth without fear. This includes our Muslim ‘brothers and sisters’. Loving them doesn’t mean we have to bow to their ideology or hold their hands in prayer…when their ideology is completely anti-Christ. Loving them means getting real with them and holding out before them the genuine treasure.
“My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me.I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them out of My hand.” John 10;27-28
Whatever the task that is set before you, follow the example of Eleazar…thinking first of the others in his life. Praying with trust that Hashem’s will will be done. Be like Rivka and do much more than you thought you were capable of…even for a complete stranger. Walk with Yeshua’s abiding living water flowing from within you watering the seeds (perhaps others may have) planted. I pray a blessing over you as we continue this journey through B’reshit. This is the book of the Torah which had repeated theme’s of struggle in the family (Jealousy and competition). Let us be the Bride that complete’s this True Love Story and believe in stepping out into the unknown, away from all our pagan roots in order to receive the precious gift this Tree of Life has to offer us.
“The loss of one member of the family, Sarah, who went into the grave, Ha’Kever opens the way for the entry of a new member to build the family: Rivka. The death of the old generation and their descent into Ha’kever turns out to be Ha’boker, a new morning, a new day!