Hashem’s Hidden Hand by Eli Friedman


Immediately before Avraham sends Eliezer to find a wife for Yitzchak, the Pasuk states, “VaHashem Beirach Et Avraham BaKol,” “And Hashem blessed Avraham in everything” (BeReishit 24:1). Why now does the Pasuk inform us that Avraham was blessed? Had he not been blessed throughout his life? Indeed, Avraham was a very wealthy individual and his life to that point was surely comfortable. Rashi answers that the word “BaKol” has the same Gematria, numerical value, as the Hebrew word “Ben,” a son. The word “BaKol” is mentioned here because now that Avraham has a son, Rashi explains, he needs to find a wife for his son. Perhaps Rashi is trying to teach us a deeper lesson.  What is it?

The Ketav Sofer answers that people can become successful in one of two ways. People can either become successful through pure luck, or they can receive divine providence through the efforts of their toil and labor.

Before the birth of Yitzchak, Avraham never knew how he had become successful. Indeed, Avraham, the first Jew, was still working to understand the interplay between man’s effort and Hashgacha Peratit, Divine providence. Because of this, he did not yet know whether he had become successful through mere happenstance or because of Hashem’s assistance. The Ketav Sofer explains that with the miraculous birth of Yitzchak, which at such an old age surely could not have happened without divine assistance, Avraham finally realizes that Hashem had been assisting him all along.

This explains the Gematria learned from the Pasuk. Only with the birth of his son did Avraham know that “VaHashem Beirach Et Avraham BaKol”—that Hashem was the one who had blessed him with everything.

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