TORAH REPEATEDLY TEACHES
us the significance of a name. Avram became Avraham, the "father of
nations". Sarai became Sara. G-d instructed Avraham and Sara to call
their son Yitzchak because of the names significance. An angel told Hagar
that her son shall be called Yishma'el, because of its meaning. So too, with
Amon and Mo'av, Yaakov and Eisav, Yisrael and Edom, Yaakov's sons, etc. etc.
notable absence of a name. This week's sedra is an example. Avraham's
name is mentioned 37 times in Chayei Sara. Sara's name appears 9 times.
Efron, who sells the burial place to Avraham is also mentioned 9 times.
Yitzchak's name appears 13 times and Rivka's is found 12 times. Betuel and
Lavan are named 4 and 3 times respectively. The main character (maybe) of the sedra,
the one who appears in all "scenes" of the parsha, is Eliezer.
Take a guess (before you read further) how many times his name appears in Chayei
Sara? Unless you already know the answer, and if you are the suspicious
type who expects "catch" questions, you'd probably guess
"once", and you'd be close. Eliezer's name does not appear at
all in Parshat Chayei Sara. The star of the show. He's in the second
portion of the sedra when Avraham sends him to his familys hometown
to find a wife for Yitzchak. He's at the well, he meets Rivka, he goes to the
house of Lavan and Betuel, he retells his story, and he takes Rivka back to
Yitzchak. No one else plays a bigger role in the sedra than Eliezer.
Not once is he named!
DOES HAVE TWO DESCRIPTIVE
terms with which he is referred to ? Ha'Eved or a variation
thereof (the servant, 12 times) and Ha'Ish (the man, 7
times). When Eliezer is referred to in relation to Avraham or Yitzchak, he is
the servant. Vis-à-vis Lavan or Betuel, he is the man. To Rivka
he is also the man; until she fully agrees to the match ? then
Eliezer becomes the servant to her as well.
OF US HAS A NAME (or
two) which has a meaning semantically, possibly Biblically, and family
antecedent-wise as well. But we also have identities of a more generic nature.
And those are who we are, as well. We are the child, the sibling,
parent, the friend, the person, the Jew. Each of these
"handles" is sometimes as important, or more, as our name. Ones
name should inspire him to do his best and bring credit to himself, his
family and Klal Yisrael.
Adapted from Torah