Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Eliezer and Our Story

One very unsung hero in the bible is Eliezer.  The Servant of Abraham.

He was said to be so holy and on such a high level that he was able to go into paradise while alive.

Eliezer was given the holy task of being the vessel to make the match for Yitzchok/Isaac.  He took it on.  I am almost certain that if it was for anyone else, there would be scores and scores of written words about how the father should have taken the job himself and what an important job it was and how dare he leave it to the servant.  But since it was one of the people that we decide is a "good guy" then no matter what, some will not fault him for anything.

So there goes Eliezer with this big load of responsibility on his back.  Stories have it that he prayed constantly for Hashem to show him who is the right person for this holy marriage.

He stood by the well and waited.  He knew most people had to come around this old time water cooler and perhaps he can get info this way.  As he waited, Rivka (Rebecca) came with her pitcher to gather water for her family.

 Eliezer asks her for some water and she graciously pulls water out of the well not only for him, but for his camel as well.  This was a sure sign that she was giving and kind.  Not only that but that she went the extra mile.  Eliezer then presented her with gifts and explained his purpose.  Rivka brings him home to tell the family what's going on.

The family is an interesting one.  The father, Bethuel, doesn't sound like he's such a nice guy.  In fact, he named his own daughter, Rivka, after a bunch of cows (in Hebrew a group of cows is called a rivka) as a way to insult her.  Bethuel tries to swindle Eliezer for more $$, but Rivka sees her way out and grabs it.  That very day she agrees to go with Eliezer.

Question:  if Bethuel was such a bad guy that he was willing to shame his daughter by calling her a rivka, try and swindle a man who was trying to offer a good marriage to his own daughter, why wouldn't he shame his son as well by calling him Laban which means white.  It was post the time of the flood.  Hopefully, most of the nefillim were washed away and all those who brought on destruction of the world.  But what if a few remained.  what if Laban, due to Bethuel's genes, came out white.  Why would someone call another white if he wasn't the lone white guy?  As if the whiteness singled him out and, this being Bethuel we're talking about, was a way to insult someone.

I'll tell you why.

Because I suspect right now we are in the times of Avraham.  Meaning we are in a place in time where we can do kindness.  We can do hospitality.  We can take care of bodies, things, etc.  But mentally, we may still be in the same mindset as Noach's thinking.  And Noach was basically a racist.  He set the tone. He didn't like the fact that Ham was wise.  that Ham, the dog, and the raven took advantage of an advantageous moment and elevated themselves. So much so that he wanted to chuck the raven the first chance he got.  He cursed Ham the first chance he got.  And luckily the dog escaped unscaithed.

So even though we can give and be kind, mentally we are stuck in Noach's mindset.  I think this is also why the Torah is written in the angle that it is written.

I think it is important to take the halachot (laws) and mitzvot (good deeds, commandments) from the Torah, but then each person must map out and chronicle their own narrative of why.  We must all write our Torah.

For example, the story of the Exodus could be written completely from the direction of the Egyptian.  How Hashem wanted to bring them back to holiness.  Or perhaps they reached the height of wisdom and had no choice but to enter a new world -- the world of humility, which would explain the whole reversal of creation that occurred.

That same story can probably be said again from the angle of another, smaller group of people who lived during that time.

I pray we find Hashem and do good deeds (mitzvot, commandments) and not rely on hisstory -- i.e. the other guy's story, but find our story -- and find the goodness in our story (and not fight another about their story).

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