Eliezer’s Lessons in Being a Shadchan by Ilan Griboff


When Avraham tells Eliezer to find a wife for Yitzchak, he gives specific instructions.  The Pasuk states simply, “VaHashem Beirach Et Avraham BaKol,” “And Hashem blessed Avraham with everything” (Bereishit 24:1).  But when Eliezer tells Rivkah’s family about Avraham, he goes into great detail about Avraham’s wealth.  The Torah further states, “VeAshbiacha BaHashem Elokei HaShamayim,” “And I will have you swear by Hashem, God of the heavens” (24:3), but when he retells the story, Eliezer omits the reference to Hashem (24:37).  A third difference is that when Avraham tells Eliezer to go look for a wife, he asks him, “VeLakachta Ishah LiVni LeYitzchak,” “And you shall take a wife for my son, Yitzchak” (24:4).  But Eliezer tells Rivkah’s family that he was instructed, “VeLakachta Ishah LiVni,” “And you shall take a wife for my son” (24:38), leaving out Yitzchak’s name.  Why is Eliezer changing the story?

An answer is that Eliezer, aware that Rivkah's parents would not necessarily be willing to let her leave and marry Yitzchak, adapts the story to fit what her family would want to hear.  He first elaborates on Avraham’s wealth so that the family would know how rich Avraham was and that Rivkah was not being sent into a poor family.  He then says only that Avraham made him swear because Rivkah’s family didn’t care about Hashem.  That Eliezer had taken an oath in the name of Hashem wouldn’t mean anything to them.  An oath in the name of Avraham, however, was significant to Rivkah’s family.  Lastly, the Beit HaLevi explains that Yitzchak’s potential wife needed to be suitable both for Yitzchak (LeYitzchak) and to be Avraham’s daughter-in-law (LiVni).  When Eliezer retold the story, he said only that she had to be suitable to be Avraham’s daughter-in-law.  Although Rivkah’s parents wouldn’t have minded marrying off their daughter to a family of spiritual giants (LiVni), they didn’t want Rivkah to marry someone who was already a great scholar and who would insist that his wife follow all of his strictures (LeYitzchak).  Therefore, he decided to omit the fact that Rivkah also had to be suitable for Yitzchak, as the family might not have consented to such a request.

-Adapted from a Shiur given by Rabbi Chaim Jachter

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