Rivkah's Nurse by Yaacov Cooper



In this week's Parsha, we read the story of Eliezer's quest to find a wife for Yitzchak at Rivkah's and Lavan's house (בראשית פרק כ"ד). After Eliezer tells his entire story to Rivkah's family, Lavan asks Rivkah whether she would like to go with this man, Eliezer, to marry Yitzchak; she answers "אלך," "I will go" (שם פסוק נ"ח). Three questions may be asked concerning Rivkah's departure from her family. First of all, why was Rivkah so willing to go with Eliezer, a man she did not even know to marry Yitzchak, another man she did not know? Secondly, the Torah says "וישלחו את רבקה אחותם ואת מנקתה," "and they sent Rivkah their sister with her nurse"(שם פסוק כ"ט). What was so special about Rivkah's nurse that they had to send her along and that the Torah has to mention her? Finally, when Rivkah reached Yitzchak's tent, we find, according to the Meforshim, that Rivkah took over for Sarah. If Rivkah grew up in the house of Besuel and Lavan, who were wicked, how did she know how to behave properly?

HaRav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik suggests that the answer to all three questions is that Rivkah was informed about Avraham and Sarah, and the Mitzvos of their home by her nurse, a woman later identified as being named Devorah (בראשית ל"ה:ח'). Devorah acted as an advanced scout, as well as serving as a nurse for Rivkah. She is the one who taught Rivkah the ways of Avraham and Sarah. Therefore, when Rivkah was asked if she wanted to go with Eliezer, she immediately responded "אלך", "I will go," because she knew about her destination from Devorah. Because Devorah would still accompany her, Rivkah would still be able to learn from her. When Rivkah reached Yitzchak's tent, she was able to keep the light shining and take Sarah's place because she had been taught by Devorah how to act. Because of Devorah's important contribution in teaching Rivkah the ways of Hashem, the Torah later goes out of its way to acknowledges her death (שם).


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