The Three Weeks

The Times of the “Avot” and the “Imahot”

July 18, 2011

Parshat Chaye Sarah describes the mission of Eliezer, the servant of Avraham, to Avraham’s ancestral home, in order to find a wife for Yitzchak. The miracles that were performed for Eliezer during this mission are detailed, indicating that HaShem the Great Matchmaker, has selected Rivkah to be the bride of Yitzchak.

When Eliezer returns from Aram Naharayim with Rivkah, they encounter Yitzchak “meditating in the field” (Bereshit 24:63). Rivkah asks, “…Who is this man coming towards us in the field?” Eliezer answers “…He is my master…” Rivkah “…took the veil and covered herself” (all in Bereshit 24:65). Eliezer tells Yitzchak the details of his mission and the verse says, “And he took her into the tent of Sarah his mother…” (Bereshit 24:67).

On the words “the tent of Sarah his mother,” RASHI, citing the Midrash Rabbah, comments, “He brought her into his tent, and behold, she was Sarah his mother; that is to say, she became ‘like Sarah his mother.’ For all the time that Sarah was alive, a lamp was lit from “Erev Shabbat” to “Erev Shabbat,” a blessing was found in the dough, and a Cloud was attached to the tent. But when Sarah died, these all went away, and when Rivkah arrived, they returned” (Bereshit Rabbah 67).

Those signs represented the Divine Presence upon the tents of the “Avot,” Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov. The “Imahot,” Sarah, Rivkah, Rachel and Leah guaranteed Its Presence by their “tzniut,” or modesty, and the nature of the “shalom-bayit,” the domestic tranquility and holiness they created with their husbands and children. That was for “within the tents.”

The Bible tells us about other matters, the covenantal arrangements, the debates, the wars, the visits and the visions, the relatively “minor” matters, that went on “outside of the tents.”

The period of the “Mishkan” in the Wilderness