Chayei Sarah: Show Me A Sign

Expressing Gratitude

After Sarah’s death, Abraham sends his servant Eliezer laden with gifts to find a wife for Isaac in Charan. After Eliezer arrives, he stands by the village well and asks God for a sign: when maidens come to draw water, he will ask for a drink. The girl who is kind enough to also offer water to his camels will be a suitable wife for his holy master’s holy son. 
Rebecca immediately appears with a jug on her shoulder and passes the test. Eliezer tells her and then her family why he’s there, and asks if he can take her to marry Isaac. Rebecca’s brother and father give their assent, and “when Abraham’s servant heard their words, he bowed low to the ground before the Lord.” (Gen. 24:52)

Rashi (1040-1105) says that Eliezer’s bow of gratitude teaches us to “thank God for good news.” But the “good news” hasn’t come yet; Rebecca can still say no to the match. From this we learn that we shouldn’t wait until we reach our goal to thank God. Rather, we should thank Him for each bit of progress we make towards achieving it.

Image: “Rebecca at the Well” by Washington Allston, 1843

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