One of the focuses of this week’s Parashah is Eliezer search for Yitzchak’s wife. However, we never learn about but what happens to Eliezer after that the task. The Pirkei DiRabbi Eliezer states that after Eliezer did this Chesed for Yitzchak, Avraham set him free. Because his status was changed from “cursed” (according to BeReishit Rabbah 60:7 Eliezer was a descendant of Canaan and Noach cursed Canaan) to “blessed”, Hashem rewarded Eliezer in this world by making him the king, Og Melech HaBashan. A proof to this is that according to the Midrash, Eliezer’s feet were forty Mil long, the same length as Og’s feet.
The Gemara teaches that Hashem rewards sinners and evil doers in this world so they do not merit a share in Gan Eden. If Hashem rewards individuals in this world to keep them from meriting Olam HaBah, why does He reward Eliezer in this world? Does Eliezer’s reward demonstrate that he is a Rasha and isn’t worthy of receiving Olam HaBah? Growing up with perceptions of Eliezer as a righteous servant of Avraham, it is difficult to believe that he was so evil.
Many commentators also pose significant ideas that contradict the belief that Eliezer was evil. The Derech Eretz Zuta states that Eliezer was one of the nine people who went to Gan Eden without dying? Furthermore, the Gemarah Bava Batrah 58b relates that Rav Benaah would measure crypts to prevent individuals from accidentally stepping on them and thereby becoming Tameh LeMeit. When Rav Benaah came to Ma’arat Hamachpelah, he was stopped by Eliezer who was guarding the entrance. Thinking Eliezer was guarding Avraham while he was davening, Rav Benaah asked Eliezer if he could enter to measure the cave. Eliezer called to Avraham who replied that Rav Benaah should be allowed to enter. We see that by guarding Ma’arat Hamachpelah, Eliezer remained faithful to Avraham even after his death. How can a person so faithful to a Tzadik be considered a Rashah?
In Parashat Chukat, Moshe kills Og, proving that he did not go to Gan Eden without dying. One possible answer to our quandary is that there were two Ogs. One was Eliezer, Avraham’s servant who went straight to Gan Eden. The second was another individual who ruled as king of Bashan and assumed the name “Og” as a royal title just as the King of Egypt assumed the title “Pharaoh”. Now understanding, as we initially thought, that Eliezer was a righteous individual and faithful servant, we should strive to emulate him in our service to Hashem and thereby merit the coming of Mashiach speedily in our time.