This page presents insights by Rabbi Tuvia Bolton on the weekly Torah portion.
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Parshat Chayei Sarah (5767)
This week we learn the long and detailed story of how Abraham sent his slave, Eliezer, to find a wife for his son Yitzchak (Isaac)
According to the teachings of Kabala, this week's Torah portion is one of the most exiting in the Book! The union of Yitzchak and Rivka signifies the union of G-d and the Jewish people that will take place in the days of Moshiach. Then the world will be drastically altered and G-d will be even MORE revealed to the Jews than He was at Mount Sinai!!
But interestingly this Torah portion contains almost no action and the main characters are gentiles!
First an obscure nobody called Efron the Hittite sells a burial place to Abraham then comes the drawn out and repetitious story of Eliezer's mission then we meet Lavan the arch anti-Semite and finally the portion ends with a seemingly pointless list of Ishmael's offspring. Not very exiting.
Not only that but it leaves a lot of questions. First of all, if this union of Yitzchak and Rivka is so significant then why did Avraham send his slave to do it? Why didn't he go himself? And, even more, why did he have to search at all? Why didn't G-d just do it for him?
We can try to understand this with a story (Siporim Noraim pg. 68).
The Rebbe of Koznitz was a great Talmudic scholar. There was virtually nothing in the Talmud or any other book of Judaism including Kabala that he didn't know, but his main accomplishment was charity.
Although he and his family lived in almost abject poverty he would daily amass large amounts of money, sometimes amounting to small fortunes, and distribute it all to charity.
Hundreds, even thousands of people literally owed their lives and well as their families to him. As well as paying for food, clothes, housing and doctor's bill he would regularly foot the bill for weddings of orphans and other indigents. Myriads of homes existed in his merit.
But he didn't always do things in a normal way. For instance, very often money would miraculously roll into his back door.
Here is an outstanding example. Once a distant relative of his, a widow who was also his third cousin, came to his home with a pitiful story; Her daughter was pledged to be married to a fine young man but just a day earlier someone had stolen the small pittance of money she had saved up for years and now she was left with nothing. As she spoke she could not control her broken heart and burst out crying. "Please Rebbe, please help! After all we are family! I know you can do it! You help so many and you are so kind and holy. Please! Save me!"
But the Rebbe just looked at her, then at the ceiling, then again at her and said....almost callously,
"Money? You want money? I'll give you Kadachas! That's what you need! Kadacahas!" (lit. 'high fever'!)
The woman was shocked to the essence of her being! Was that a way to talk to a human being, no less a fellow Jew....no less a family member!?" She was stunned, broken and confused. Her eyes widened in disbelief as the Rebbe just opened a book and started reading, completely oblivious of her presence.
It was the worst she could imagine!! Not only did she have no money and now her last hopes were dashed but the Rebbe actually sounded like he was giving her a … a curse!!
She left the Rabbi's room sobbing uncontrollably and when his wife entered to see what was wrong the Rabbi looked up, smiled as though nothing had happened and said, "You know who that woman is? She's a relative of mine; my great grandfather and her great grandfather were brothers. Please invite her to stay here with us and give her especially good care."
His wife did as he requested and an hour later when the Rebbe left his room briefly and saw the woman seated like royalty eating a warm meal and engaged in conversation with his wife, he interrupted and addressed her. "Excuse me, please. I'd like to know exactly how much you need for that wedding. You can include the price of a house and furniture as well."
The woman was overjoyed! This was the Rebbe she was hoping to see! His wife produced paper and a pen and she began to excitedly write. "You don't have to be exact" The Rebbe said "Just write the largest sum you think you might need!"
Encouraged, she wrote and wrote until she finally came up with the sum of fifty gold coins (something like a fifty thousand dollars).
"Fifty gold coins!!!?" the Rebbe picked up the paper and exclaimed. "Why, what you need is Kadachas!!! That's what you need! And the sooner the better!!"
Again the poor woman began to weep uncontrollably....but she was beginning to get used to it.
The next morning a fine carriage pulled by four powerful horses pulled up before the Rebbe's synagogue. A servant jumped out and opened the door and another servant helped a finely dressed, middle aged woman out.
She asked one of the Chassidim that happened to be exiting the building if this is where she can find Rabbi Yisroel of Koznitz and when the answer was positive she had the servant help her up the stairs while the other servant arranged a meeting with the Rebbe.
The servant was granted admission and asked, "Rebbe, do you help gentiles? The Duchess needs your blessing."
In a few minutes she was sitting in a chair opposite the Rebbe and almost crying. "Rebbe! I heard that you can do miracles and I need your help."
The Rebbe said nothing, and she continued
"Rebbe, for over a year now I have been sick with fever. Over a year!! I've been to the best doctors in the world, famous professors, renowned experts but all of them say the same thing. They can't understand what the problem is; they have never seen such a stubborn case of fever… I think you call it …. Errr… Kadachas! Correct? They can't find a cure!
"Well, some friend gave me your name and said that you help gentiles as well… can you help?"
The Rebbe looked at her for a moment and said. "Year old Kadachas? Very severe! To heal a thing like that would cost….. fifty guldens."
She immediately pulled out a bag from her purse and counted out the money.
"Fine, said the Rebbe as he gathered the money into a pile on the table before him. How do you feel now?"
She looked up first to the left then to the right as though searching for the disease then stood, walked around a bit, took a few deep breaths, walked to the widow, opened it and breathed deeply again letting out a loud "Ahhhhh!"
She turned to the Rebbe with a wide smile and said, "Thank G-d! I'm cured!! I feel cured!! This is incredible!!"
The Rebbe then called in one of his secretaries and asked him to find the widow and after a few minutes she entered to see the Rebbe with a large pile of golden coins on his table which he pushed in her direction saying,
"Here! Here's Kadachas! Mazal Tov!! Now you can make a proper wedding!!"
This answers our questions.
The marriage of Yitzchak and Rivka was the beginning of the fulfillment of the purpose of the Jewish people.
While all the other religions strive for heavenly life after death Judaism strives for the unification of heaven on earth... something like it was in the Garden of Eden and later in the Holy Temple….. but even higher.
We long for the total revelation of the Creator in the entire Creation in the days of the Moshiach!!
As the prophet says "On that day G-d will be One and His 'name' will be one" (Zechariah 14:9): Then the Creator will be more revealed then than even at Mount Sinai and all mankind, not just the Jews, will connect to Him through His Torah!
And the biggest difference will be found in the gentiles.
Never in history was there a time that all the gentiles worshipped the only Creator. Even after the miracles of leaving Egypt and of Purim when the entire world knew of the greatness of the G-d of Israel or in the days of King Solomon when even great kings flocked to him and to the Temple, nevertheless the gentiles remained basically unchanged.
Our portion hints at Moshiach.
The Moshiach will actually cause EVERY gentile (and every creation) to feel the G-d who is constantly creating him/her and bring them to observe G-d's will through the Seven Commandments (see http://www.ohrtmimim.org/Torah_Default.asp?id=939)
Just as the duchess in our story got cured by helping the Rebbe so also all mankind will help Moshiach to express G-d's oneness and become cured from all the diseases of the soul; selfishness, hatred etc and bring blessing, health and joy.
That is why this week's section deals so much with gentiles.
And therefore this week's section hasn't much outward action (G-d doesn't even talk to anyone) because at first this change will be very subtle and personal within each and every individual to recognize the Creator.
It's all up to us to make it happen: even one more good deed, word or even prayer can tip the scale to bring to fruition all the work of the forefathers with....
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