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Saturday, November 16, 2019 18 Cheshvan 5780


The first Lubavitch/Chabad Rebbe, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, author of the Tanya and Code of Jewish Law, once remarked that a Jew must "live with the times." His son explained the meaning: A Jew must live with the Torah portion of the week - i.e., he must assimilate the lessons of the weekly Torah portion


In Merit of Kindness
Our forefather Abraham was a man of kindness. Due to his many acts of kindness he merited to have G-d appear to him. Only two days after his circumcision, when the pain is most intense, G-d decided to pay him a visit. Abraham’s habit was to go out looking for guests. Due to his condition, G-d tried to make it easier for him by making it a blazing hot day when there would be no travelers venturing out. Nevertheless, Abraham sat outside his tent in the heat of day waiting for visitors.
When G-d appeared to him, Abraham spotted travelers in the distance. Immediately He put G-d “on hold” and rushed to greet the guests. Despite his advanced age (99) and despite the fact that he had just circumcised himself, he rushed about preparing a repast for them--all while G-d stood waiting!
From this episode our sages learn that welcoming guests is greater than greeting the Shechinah. As children of Abraham, it behooves us to follow in his ways and provide others with all they require, spiritual or material. Through this we are assured that G-d will appear to us in our time of need.
As long as the Geulah (Redemption) has not yet come, only our soul can sense the revelation of G-dliness. Yet when Moshiach comes, we will experience G-d’s presence directly, just as Abraham did in merit of his kindness.
(The Rebbe, Hitvaaduyot 5749 vol. 1)
A G-dly Marriage
This week’s Torah portion describes in great detail Eliezer’s mission to find a wife for Yitzchak. The Torah is known for its brevity and many weighty topics are covered in just a few words, and here the Torah uses many, many verses to tell the tale.
We must conclude that the wedding of Yitzchak and Rivka is so fundamental that it justifies such a lengthy discourse. But why is it so significant?
As the marriage of the first born Jew in history, Yitzchak’s match with Rivka represents the bond between G-d and the Jewish people, which is often likened to the relationship between a man and a woman. G-d is the husband and the Jewish people is the wife, and with each mitzvah we do, we strengthen the connection between us.
When the Torah was given, it established our relationship, but only as an engagement. The full bond between G-d and the Jewish people--the “wedding,” so to speak--will not be expressed until the final Redemption. Only after a long period of preparation will we be ready for a full union with G-d in this world, which was the intent of all of creation.
Perhaps this is the reason that the Torah lays out in such detail all the preparations for the marriage between Yitzchak and Rivka. Their marriage is the template for every Jewish wedding forever after, and by extension, for our divine service over the centuries, to prepare for our ultimate union with G-d.
(The Rebbe, Hitvaaduyot 5752 vol. 1, p. 286)

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