Friday, November 14, 2014

Parsha: Values Through Symbols

Rav Cohen

In this weeks' parsha we have the story of Eliezer going out to find a wife for Yitzchak. After he arrives at the well and meets with Rivka, she does a great act of chessed and gives Eliezer and his animals to drink water. Then Eliezer takes out a few gifts to give to Rivka. The pasuk says that he gave her a נזם זהב בקע משקלו ושני צמידים.  What is the message behind these specific presents and what is unique about the word בקע? 

The Kli Yakar explains that the word בקע means split or chopped. It refers to something that was once whole but is now broken and only a half. However the word צמידים which are bracelets are actually made by taking separate strands and then spinning and twisting them together to make one object.  In other words these two gifts were symbolizing and displaying opposite characteristics.

The בקע relates to regular monetary possession. Money is something that no matter how much a person has, they would always like to have more. Therefore the Torah uses the word בקע, which is a half, to show that we will always desire to have more. 

The צמידים relate to Torah and mitzvos.  Although we learn different types of Torah and do many different mitzvos, all of them are intertwined and joined together to make one rounded ben Torah and become part of ones essence.

These characteristics can be seen in two other areas as well. Money very often can be the source of strife and fighting and creating a rift and separation between people (the idea of broken mentioned above).  Torah has the opposite effect, as it promotes and generates peace and harmony in Am Yisrael. Also, Torah and mitzvos are something that become attached and joined to a person and will never leave him even after he dies, where as money eventually will be separated from a person when he leaves this world.

In essence, the gifts that Eliezer was giving to Rivka where expressing a deep point about Jewish values. Our time and energy should be invested in actions that will be everlasting and create peace and less focused on material gains, which can lead to conflict and will ultimately not escort a person after he leaves this world.

Good Shabbos!     

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