Characteristic Perfection by Shmuel Katz


In need of a wife for his son, Avraham commands his servant to go out and acquire Yitzchak a wife. He states, “VeHayah HaNa’ara Asheir Omar Eileha Hati Na Chadeich VeEshteh VeAmerah Sheteih VeGam Gemalecha Ashkeh Otah Hochachta LeAvdecha LeYitzchak,” “So let it come to pass that the girl to whom I shall say ‘Put down your pitcher so I can drink’ and she shall say ‘Drink and I will give your camels drinks too’ let her be chosen for your servant Yitzchak” (BeReishit 24:14). Fulfilling these words exactly, Rivkah passes this “test” and is asked to marry Yitzchak. While this kind deed clearly shows the righteous kindness she is capable of, why is this one test sufficient?

Yitzchak is a legendary Tzadik, willing to offer his own life at the Akeidah for Hashem’s sake, yet all his wife needs is to be kind? While Chesed is an essential characteristic, it is but one of many important character traits. Rav Chaim Mordechai Katz offers an explanation to this dilemma. Rav Katz explains that when someone masters a character trait, this mastery has an effect on all his other traits. This perfect Midah influences all a person’s other characteristics and leads to an improved and well-rounded individual. Based on this explanation, it is clear that Rivka’s unparalleled kindness illustrates an overall strength of character that makes her worthy of marrying Yitzchak.

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