D'var Torah by Rabbi Jay Spero



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After the near sacrifice of Yitzchok (Isaac), Avraham realizes it is time for Yitzchok to get married.

From the sequence of events which lead up to the marriage of Yitzchok, we can glean many valuable insights into the ideas of love and marriage.

Avraham instructed his servant, Eliezer, to find a wife for Yitzchok (Eliezer, besides being a trusted aide to Avraham, was also a tremendously pious and perceptive person; finding a spouse in such a fashion is certainly not a recommended procedure for this generation). How would Eliezer know who would be a fitting bride for Yitzchok? Let us look to the narrative of the Torah: “She (Rivka, also known as Rebecca) said, ‘drink my lord’, and quickly she lowered her jug to her hand and gave him a drink. When she had finished giving him drink, she said, ‘I will draw water even for your camels until they have finished drinking.’ Later, Rivka tells Eliezer: “Even straw and feed is plentiful with us as well as a place to lodge” (Gen. Ch. 24). Rivka was a young girl, and as we know, camels are extremely thirsty animals. This, obviously, was very strenuous work, especially for a stranger! Yet Rivka does this work happily. This shows she has a very giving nature.

When Yitzchok is introduced to his future wife, the Torah tells us the sequence of events: “And Yitzchok brought her (Rivka) into the tent of Sarah his mother; he married Rivka, she became his wife, and he loved her” (Gen. Ch. 24 V.67). The sequence of events is seemingly out of order. Shouldn’t Yitzchok have loved Rivka before he married her?

Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler has a classic piece in his seminal work “Strive for Truth”. He explains that “the world is comprised of givers and takers.” It is of utmost importance, and in reality it is the key to our happiness, both with in our relationship with our spouses, family, friends and with G-d, to strive to be givers. Being a giver is the antithesis of being selfish.

Logically it would seem that a person loves someone because of what he could get from him. In reality, the exact opposite is the truth. Think of the relationship between a parent and a child. What does a child, certainly in the first couple of years of life, give a parent? Yet which normal parent does not have boundless love for his child?

It is giving that develops and increases love.  In modern society, pop culture and movies often portray people as “falling in love” within the first few times they meet. This is obviously false and should more appropriately be proclaimed as “falling in lust”.  One of the main reasons for the tragically high divorce rate is that people don’t understand that relationships take work, and above all giving leads to love, not vice versa.

This is how Yitzchok was able to marry Rivka, because he knew she was a giver. And through understanding the principle of giving, we see why only after he married her, and would have the opportunity to give to her, would he love her. Let us all undertake to work on being givers and to improve our relationships with our loved ones and with G-d.


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