how to receive the title “Immeinu”

Friday, 10 November, 2017 - 5:39 am


Have you ever thought why the sign Eliezer chose for determining who would be Yitzchak’s wife was “Drink, and I will draw water for your camels too”?

Eliezer did not know whom he would meet, and set the criterion on his own: The woman who would respond positively and generously to his request, “Please tip your jug so that I may drink”, would be the designated bride.

Eliezer certainly knew what we know, that he had been sent to find a righteous woman who would be suitable for Yitzchak. He had been sent to find a mother of a nation, one who is worthy of receiving the title “Immeinu” (our mother).

Generosity and chessed are certainly important, but shouldn’t he have checked her beliefs, her way of dress, and whether she prays or studies in order to know if she is suitable for Yitzchak?

The answer to this question lies in a story that my father tells movingly, in the name of one dear chassid, R. Meir Friedman.

A rumor spread throughout the village that the shochet (ritual slaughterer) was not   G-d fearing enough, and therefore one should not trust his slaughtering – a rumor that influenced his income, of course.

The Ruzhiner Rebbe heard of this rumor and he decided to send a chassid to visit the home of the shochet.

The road to the village was unpaved, and it rained on the way. The chassid was therefore delayed on his journey; he had to walk through mud and in the end reached the shochet’s home only at midnight. Tired, wet, mud-spattered and freezing, he knocked on the shochet’s door without saying why he was there. The shochet and his family welcomed him warmly and happily, lit some more candles for him, found him clean, dry clothes to put on and even gave him a bowl of warm soup.

When the chassid returned to the Ruzhiner Rebbe and told him of the visit, the Ruzhiner got up and immediately gave his verdict: “Dort vu is lichtig un warem, is oicht kosher” – where it’s lit up and warm, it’s also kosher.

So I have this idea that Eliezer, too, said to himself in the Canaanite version of Yiddish: “Where it’s lit up and warm, it’s also kosher.”


Shabbat Shalom,


Rabbi Zalmen Wishedski

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