Latest update: April 16th, 2012
Hashem has many agents who do His bidding and bring about in the world the ends He desires. Sometimes the agent is rather unlikely, as when an evil person’s deeds bring about something beneficial. Rabbi Avigdor Miller, zt”l, explains that such was the case when Rivkah’s family bestowed upon her a blessing that in fact alluded to Israel’s ultimate elevation over the other nations, and Hashem’s ultimate kingship over all the world.
“Our sister, be you to thousands of ten thousands, and your seed should inherit the gate of his enemies” (24:60).
These words were put into the mouth of the speakers; they are really the words of G-d. We note they did not bless her with wealth or happiness or good health or even long years. G-d’s greatest blessing is children and children’s children forever. When one`s descendants cling to the service of G-d, the progenitor is considered as if he were alive forever, continuing to serve Hashem in this physical life.
This is the blessing G-d gave to Abraham (“be you to thousands…”; 13:16, 15:5, 17:20), and to Yitzchak (26:4) and to Jacob (28:14). For similar instances where G-d put His words in the mouth of ordinary men, see 23:6, 24:30. We note the similarity between this verse (“thousands of ten thousands”) and the verse “ten thousands of thousands of Israel” (Bamidbar 10:36). Thus we see that this blessing upon Rivkah was that she would become the mother of all Israel.
Hashem blessed Abraham similarly (“your seed should inherit…”; 22:17), and Rivkah’s kin extend this blessing to her. We see here that Hashem puts His words into the mouths of ordinary persons (23:6, 24:31, 24:60). We understand that this blessing was not intended for all the seed of Rivkah, including Eisav, but for the seed of Jacob alone concerning whom it was said: “Come to rest, Hashem, upon the ten thousands of thousands of Israel” (Bamidbar 10:36).
Eisav would have benefited from this blessing had he remained with the family, but by deserting them he forfeited his benefits. However, a minor reflection of blessing came upon him; just as after Isaac’s blessings upon Jacob, Eisav gained some minor blessing from his father (27:39-40). As it turned out, Rivkah’s true seed was Jacob, and he eventually conquered Eisav and had dominion over the land of Edom (II Samuel 8:14). But the enemies of Jacob were many (22:17) and in all eras; Jacob would overcome all of them in the end.
We should note that this blessing upon Rivkah is the same as the blessing upon Yitzchak (22:17). This prophecy that Hashem put into the mouth of Rivkah’s kin certainly includes the conquest of Canaan. But chiefly it refers to the final victory over all the ideologies of the nations, when all the cities of the world will acclaim Hashem as the true G-d and they will acclaim Israel as His people and the sole bearers of Hashem’s truth.
Even more: it foretells that “All Israel has a share in the World to come,” meaning that the seed of Rivkah (which is Israel), and no one else, is guaranteed eternal life on a national scale (i.e. not merely for chosen individuals). Thus Rivkah was given a blessing parallel to the prophecy of Isaac’s name: “He shall laugh” (21:3). Her seed shall inherit the final and eternal “gate.”
Compiled for The Jewish Press by the Rabbi Avigdor Miller Simchas Hachaim Foundation, a project of Yeshiva Gedolah Bais Yisroel, which Rabbi Miller founded and authorized to disseminate his work. Subscribe to the Foundation’s free e-mail newsletters on marriage, personal growth, and more at www.SimchasHachaim.com.
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