Parsha Toldos 5769 Addition: Rifka and Application of Nurture L’Shem Shemayim


by Moshe Burt

There is an additional dimension to Rifka’s elevated Torah morality and ethic which was not previously discussed in the earlier Parsha HaShevua for Parsha Toldos.

The Midrash Says (Sefer Breish’t, page 225) notes, near the end Parsha Chaye Sarah, Rifka’s unequivocal decision to accompany Eliezer back to Avraham and Yitzchak.

It is said that both Lavan and Rifka’s mother attempted all kinds of rouges to delay Rifka’s departure. Her father, Besuel, died of his own poison which he planted in Eliezer’s food but a Moloch switched plates. And so they demanded that Rifka remain behind to mourn for her father and to prepare a Bridal trousseau.

But Rifka stated firmly;

“I shall go of my own accord, even if you do not consent.”

Rivka was glad to be able to leave her family and hometown and become the wife of a righteous man. She had grown up like a rose among the thorns, between her corrupt father Besuel, her equally wicked brother Lavan and a town of swindlers.

While rising above her surroundings as was previously explained, later Rifka was imbued with the wisdom to apply conditions of her nurture L’Shem Shemayim when pushing Yaakov to go disguised as Eisev for Yitzchak’s Bracha.

And still later, we find that Yaakov benefitted from his Mother’s wisdom in confronting Lavan — having said to Rachel that “if Lavan is deceitful, I am his brother in deceit.”

And so we seem to learn that just as it is essential that one rise above the norms of perhaps a less than moral living environment, the peer group pressures, the tendencies to do or act in certain ways “because everyone else is doing it,” one needs to have the wisdom to apply insights learned in their nurtured environment when necessary L’Shem Shemayim.

In today’s Israel, perhaps this means that those who love and cleave to our Divine legacy of Eretz Yisrael and who love their fellow Jews as brothers must employ their wits and their backgrounds, L’Shem Shemayim, morally, ethically to best those who would do evil to them.

Unfortunately, the answers; a solid methodology of besting, neutralizing and discrediting, L’Shem Shemayim, an evil governance in Israel at their own game — have yet to be struck upon. There seems to be noone so imbued with Divine wisdom as Rifka Emeinu was. Hopefully, the time for such answers will come speedily. May our actions regarding our fellow Jews merit acquiring such Divine wisdom as necessary to humble the evil-doers.

May we, the B’nai Yisrael be zocha that our brethren — the refugee families from Gush Katif be permanently settled and be made totally whole, that our dear brother Jonathan Pollard, captive Gilad Shalit and the other MIAs be liberated alive returned to us in ways befitting Al Kiddush Hashem and that we fulfill Hashem’s blueprint of B’nai Yisrael as a Unique people — an Am Segula, not to be reckoned with as with “the nations” and may we be zocha to see the Moshiach, the Ge’ula Shlaima, as Dov Shurin sings; “Yom Hashem V’Kol HaGoyim”, the Ultimate Redemption, bim hay v’yameinu — speedily, in our time”, — Achshav, Chik Chuk, Miyad, Etmol!!!

Good Shabbos!

Moshe Burt, an Oleh, is a commentator on news and events in Israel and Founder and Director of the Sefer Torah Recycling Network. He lives in Ramat Beit Shemesh.

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