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He will send His angel before you and you will take a wife for my son from there (Bereishis 24:7). He said to me, Hashem before whom I have walked will send his angel with you and make your journey successful and you will take a wife for my son from my family and my fathers house (Bereishis 24:40).
Parshas Chayei Sarah is well known for hosting the parsha of shidduchim. The Torah elaborates on many of the minute details of Yitzchaks match to Rivkah not once but twice. Chazal make note of this by stating that the simple talk of the servants of our forefathers is more beloved before Hashem then the actual laws of the Torah. The mission of Eliezer the servant of Avraham is repeated in great detail twice, whereas many of the basic rules of Jewish law are only hinted to us through complicated exegesis. We may ask, what significance lay in the fact that the Torah repeated this event twice.
It is noteworthy that there are discrepancies between the details of this story as they actually occurred and what Eliezer reported after the fact. One significant discrepancy is where Avraham reassured Eliezer that Hashem would assist his mission by sending an angel before him. This statement with the emphasis of the word before has the connotation that Eliezer would not be involved in choosing a wife for Yitzchak. Rather, the match would develop and unfold before his eyes without his involvement. Yet, later after Eliezer met Rivkah and reviewed with her family the details of what had occurred, he said that Avraham told him that Hashem would send an angel together with him. This statement with the emphasis on the words with him has the connotation that Eliezer would be an active partner in the deciding who Yitzchaks wife would be. How do we explain this discrepancy?
Conventionally, Shidduchim relates to the events leading up to the making of a match. The lifelong relationship that continues to develop after the match is made tends not to be associated with the parsha of shidduchim.
Perhaps we may suggest that the Torah by repeating this episode twice indicates that in truth there are two parts to shidduchim. The first part is the initial meeting of man and woman and the second is the lifelong relationship that continues to develop after they are married. Each part requires a unique dosage of Divine Providence.
Before Eliezer met Rivkah, the angel was describes as one that goes in front. This represents the first stage of shidduchim, the initial bringing together of man and woman. At this point the two parties do not yet know each other, thus the Divine Providence is described as the angel going in front, without their involvement. Hashem guides events and happenings of the world so that man and woman meet and marry. The buildup of events that lead to the meeting of man and woman are unknown to them but only to Hashem. Thus, it may correctly be said that the angel is going in front without their involvement. However, after the match has been made the next stage of shidduchim begins. This represents the deepening of the relationship between husband and wife. This continues for the rest of their lives. After Eliezer discovered Rivkah he repeated the entire story. Homiletically, this may be interpreted as meaning that now even after the marriage has been put into place there will still be a need for Divine Providence to guide the relationship of the husband and wife throughout the remainder of their lives. This divine assistance is describes as the angel going together with you. Now that the man and the woman know of each other they are active partners with Hashem in this ongoing relationship.
This idea is further hinted to in this posuk. When Avraham informs Eliezer that Hashem will send an angel he immediately concluded with the words and you will take a wife for my son. This implies that the main purpose of the angel will be to bring the man and the woman together. However, when Eliezer discusses the angel after Rivkah had been chosen he immediately concluded with the words so that Hashem will make your way successful. This immediate reference to success may homiletically be interpreted as meaning that the main purpose of the angel now is to assist man and wife of a successful marriage.
Chazal teach us that when there is peace between man and wife the Divine Presence rests between them. After a marriage has been entered into and there is peace this prove that not only has Hashem sent his angel before them to create the match but has also sent his angel together with them to insure its success.
© Efraim Levine 5761/2001