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Success in Your Way

Abraham sent his servant Eliezer to find a wife for his son Isaac. Eliezer asked Abraham what to do if he would find a suitable bride, but she would refuse to come with him. Abraham answered: “G-d... will send His angel before you, and you will take a woman for my son from there.”

In other words, Abraham assured Eliezer that he had no need to worry; his mission would be completed appropriately. An angel would go before him to lay the groundwork and assure that everything would go smoothly. Thus, Eliezer will succeed in finding a bride for Isaac.

When Eliezer reached his destination, Haran, and was in the house of Bethuel, father of Rebecca, he related to the family the entire story of his journey and the purpose of his coming. He asked their consent to give Rebecca’s hand in marriage to Isaac. He said, “And he [Abraham] said to me, G-d... will send His angel with you, and will cause you to succeed in your way, and you will take a woman for my son...”

Eliezer subtly altered the words of Abraham, from “send His angel before you” to “send His angel with you.” Why did Eliezer change Abraham’s words when relating the story to Bethuel’s family?

When the angel went before Eliezer, he indeed did most of the work. He prepared the ground, and thanks to the angel’s preparatory work, Eliezer’s mission did indeed go easily. Eliezer’s journey was miraculously shortened; he arrived in Haran the same day, when it should have been a three-day journey. He came to a well of water and prayed to G-d to send him the right girl. He made a sign: he would ask the girl for water, and if she would offer to give water not only to him but also to his camels, this would be a sign that she had the right traits of compassion and lovingkindness to fit into the household of Abraham and Isaac.

Even before he ended his prayer, he noticed Rebecca approaching the well. His interest was further aroused when he observed that the water in the well rose towards her, without her having to dip her pitcher. Then, when Eliezer posed his “test” to her, she agreed immediately to bring him water, and offered to bring water for his camels, just like the sign that he had proposed. Eliezer saw instantly that his mission would be successful. This was the work of the angel, sending the right bride to him. All he had to do now was obtain her family’s consent.

However, when Eliezer came to Bethuel to ask his permission to take Rebecca, he could not say that G-d had sent an angel before him. He was, after all, coming to obtain the father’s consent. If the whole process was the work of an angel, there was no need to ask permission at all.

Therefore, Eliezer said that Abraham had promised to send an angel with him, to assist him and be at his side to ensure the success of his mission. However, the main responsibility rests with Eliezer himself.

Like Eliezer, we too are on a mission, to arrange a very special marriage—the marriage between G-d and the Jewish people. Not always is it guaranteed that the Jewish people will be completely consenting; what if, as Eliezer asked, the bride will not consent to come along? Is it possible that, G-d forbid, a Jew will remain in exile, unwilling to join the Jewish people in their final Redemption?

For this, Abraham reassures Eliezer, G-d will send his messenger before you. Eliezer reiterates, G-d will send His angel with you and will make you successful. As long as we do our job properly, to sincerely motivate ourselves and others to prepare the world for Redemption, G-d will send His messengers to clear the path for us, and grant us success in our mission.

(Based on an address of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Likutei Sichot vol. 25, pp. 99-105)



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