Finding Mr. or Mrs. Right
This week’s parsha clearly has women on its mind. Chayei Sara, the Life of Sarah, begins with the narration of Sarah’s passing and Abraham’s purchase of Hebron as a burial place for her. With the departure of the first of the foremothers, we have a “changing of the guard” so to speak. The only problem is that Abraham’s successor and son, Isaac is still single and he needs to find a wife. As this was before JSwipeand Tinder, tradition reigned and parents were a little more involved in the matchmaking of their children.
At issue however was that Abraham was well on in years and could not take care of this important task himself. As such he appoints his trusted servant and right-hand man, Eliezer as his agent for this crucial mission. Abraham gives him clear instructions to go back to his home town to find a suitable young woman for Isaac.
So off goes Eliezer to a completely strange area with no GPS to guide him except the Almighty’s hand. Indeed, recognizing the difficulty of his job, he asks God to give him a sign to point him in the right direction and to highlight who would be a fitting wife for the future forefather of the Jewish people.
When he gets to Abraham’s home town, he prays: “Look, I am standing by the water-spring, and the daughters of the people of the city are coming out to draw water. Let it come about that the young woman to whom I will request, ‘Tip your pitcher so that I can have a drink’ that she shall respond, ‘Drink, and I will also give water to your camels,’ (then I will know that) she will be the one whom You have designated for Your servant, for Isaac.”
And lo and behold, before he even finishes his prayer, Rebecca shows up with a jug of water on her shoulder. You can probably guess the rest.
Now I am sure that there are many singles out there that would wish it to be so easy. But given that not everyone is on the level of Eliezer, or working for an Abraham to receive instant answers to their prayers, there are still many valuable lessons to be learnt from this event in one’s quest to find their beshert, their match. (As for you marrieds, don’t stop reading – we all know someone searching for their significant other. Pass on the ideas or email this to them.) Here are four things we learn from this event:
- Check Out a Person’s Background. Abraham was all too familiar with the folks surrounding him and he was not impressed. This is very interesting inasmuch as he just got through asking God to spare Sodom and Gemorrah with the possibility that the place could rehab itself if there were enough righteous people. Alas, seeing there were not, it told Abraham what kind of values dominated the area and forced him to conclude that he had to go elsewhere, to his home town, to find an appropriate wife for his son.
The effect that a community has on an individual is expressed by Maimonides who states, “A person is drawn after their environment.” To a large degree we are all a product of our family, community, city and country. It is important to check out a person’s origins to get a better context of who and what they are. This is not to say that everyone from an unnamed large city may be brash, unrefined, arrogant and crude, but one should always pay attention to the dominant traits of a place to ensure that the intended has risen above them.
- Timing is Everything. Isaac was not so young when Abraham took this initiative for him. He was 37 and just had gotten off a sacrificial alter… literally – almost losing his life in God’s request for Abraham to sacrifice his son. It was a life-changing event for everyone involved, to say the least, and it made Abraham come to the stark realization that had God not intervened in the last moment, he would be bereft of children and progeny. He could not delay any longer in his efforts to find a wife for his son.
We do not necessarily have these dramatic events such as the Akeida to knock some sense of urgency into us, but too often singles just dilly-dally along in life when it comes to finding the right one. “Time is a wastin’ away and it doesn’t wait for nobody to find what they’re after” Gordon Lightfoot once sang. Too many people just passively date and do not actively seek a life partner, and before they know it the right person could have come and gone out of their lives. When you feel the time is right to get married, don’t waste your time and efforts.
Which leads me to the next point about what to look for when dating.
3. See the Person For Who They Really Are. When Eliezer prayed, it was not for an arbitrary sign that he sought but one that would tell him something invaluable about Rebecca’s character and her qualities. Her response to his request for water displayed not only her quality of kindness, but that she was sensitive to the needs of his animals as well since she took the initiative to alleviate their thirst even though this was not
asked of her.
Too often singles spend so much time and effort focusing on inane issues having no bearing on a person’s true character. Their profiles tell of the types of food they like, the TV they watch or music they listen to. And of course they like to take the proverbial long walks along the beach. As if any of these and similar specifics have any bearing on whether or not you can make a meaningful and pleasurable life and future with another.
When it comes to dating and seeking your beshert,learn to focus on the important issues and qualities of the other. And once you see those qualities, make up your mind as soon as possible so you don’t waste your time dating because you don’t want to be alone and you have hit that going-nowhere comfort level. If you do this, you may end up missing the right one as you hang too
long with the wrong one.
4. And Finally – Pray. Ask the Almighty to bring you the right person. But perhaps more importantly, pray that He gives you the insight and awareness to recognize that person when they do enter your life.
I look forward to dancing at your wedding.
You sit there in your heartache
Waiting on some beautiful boy to
To save you from your old ways…
Watch it now, here he comes
He doesn’t look a thing like ‘Isaac’
But he talks like a gentleman
Like you imagined
When you were young