Do the Right Thing by Ari Ginsberg


In this week’s Parsha, Avraham sends his servant Eliezer to Charan to find a wife for his son Yitzchak.  After Avraham gives Eliezer his command, Eliezer asks, “Ulai Lo Toveh Haisha Lalechet Acharai El Haaretz Hazot,” “Perhaps the woman will not be willing to come back with me to this land,” (Bereshit 24:5).  When Eliezer is invited into Rivkah’s home, he retells the entire story.  However, when the Torah records the conversation, a few words are changed.  When Eliezer had asked Avraham what he was supposed to do if the girl refused to come to Canaan with him, the Torah uses the word “Ulai,” meaning “perhaps.”  It is spelled Aleph-Vav-Lamed-Yud.  But when Eliezer has a conversation with Rivkah’s family, the Torah doesn’t write it with a Vav, which can be read “Eilay,” meaning “to me.”  Rashi explains that the Vav is not written because Eliezer was thinking about himself.  When Eliezer asked the question, his intentions were to find a hole in Avraham’s plan.  This way he would not be able to bring home any wife for Yitzchak, who would then have to marry Eliezer’s daughter.  There is an important lesson to be learned from this.  Even though Eliezer would rather have had Yitzchak marry his daughter, he was faithful to Avraham and did as he was told.  Rabbi Dessler notes that many times, when we have selfish interests, we force ourselves to believe that it is the right thing to do.   We see from Eliezer’s statement to Rivkah’s family that his own self-interest makes it hard for him to accept that Rivkah, not his daughter, is the proper choice for Yitzchak.  However, we must overcome our own interests and do the right thing.

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