When I first looked at this portion, there were many directions that I could have taken. First, I thought it was about a father who didn’t want his son to marry a shicksa. Granted, these weren't just people who worshipped a different god, these were people who performed human sacrifice for their god. But a d’var on the evils of intermarriage, I didn’t want to go there.
Then, I thought about Abraham’s decision to send his servant to find a wife for his son. Yes, he was getting on in years, but if you read on, you’ll see that after Isaac is all set up with a wife, Abraham takes up with Keturah and fathers 6 more children. Not too old, I guess. If I continued on this track, I could speak about hiring surrogates to care for your children, versus doing the job yourself. I sure didn’t want to go there
Another train of thought led me to ponder as to where Isaac was living since the Akedah. Was he at the Well of the Living One Who Sees with Ishmael? Had he deserted the father who had almost sacrificed him to live with his half brother and his fathers rejected concubine? Is it possible that the story of our revered ancestors is really just the story of a dysfunctional family, not much different from the rest of us? I really didn’t want to go there.
So, where do I want to go with this? I want to go in a positive direction. To find the love Abraham felt for his son, and for his God. The respect the servant had for his master and his masters God. And the love God had for the family he had chosen.
Yes, Abraham chose not to go back to Aram himself. He sent a surrogate, but there he was. A very wealthy man. Blessed with everything, but a daughter. The only monotheist living among idol worshiping, child sacrificers. Arranged marriage was probably the way to go. Where else was he to find the best matchmaker, but from his own household. In his favor, I’d have to say he chose wisely. He selected his eldest servant. A man who showed respect for the God of Abraham. A man who even felt comfortable enough with his master s God to as him for help in the task he was given. It has even been suggested that this servant , who many believe to be Eliezar, had a daughter he hoped would marry Isaac. And despite his disappointment, he did as he as asked. This could have been Abraham’s best means of securing the right bride for his son. A woman who would follow in Sarah s noble footsteps, in her righteous path. By having her brought to them, in Canaan, instead of sending Isaac there, Abraham insured that his descendants would not be influenced by the remaining idolaters in his family, they would remain in the land that God had promised them and keep the Covenant.
The relationship between Abraham’s servant, Eliezar and God is also an interesting one, too. While Abraham seems assured that the appropriate bride will be found, Eliezar is apprehensive. Maybe he won t find her. Maybe she will refuse to return with him. But, he is comfortable enough with the God of his master to ask him for a favor. He even hesitates before proposing his plan, to show his respect.
And God, what about him? He answers Eliezar’s prayer. Despite injunctions against omens and divinations, he gives exactly the sign asked for. He makes sure that there is continuity. Isaac will marry the right woman, one who possesses both generosity and chutzpah. A proper matriarch for the chosen people.
Doing the best you can for your child, showing respect, following directions against your own personal desires, as Teyve’s wife Golda would say, If that’s not love what is?