Photo Credit: Asher Schwartz

Sarah has died, Abraham is getting older, and their son Isaac has yet to marry. According to the Midrash, Isaac is forbidden from leaving the land of Canaan, but none of the women of Canaan were considered suitable for Isaac.

Abraham sends his loyal servant, who the Midrash names as Eliezer, to return to Abraham’s hometown, Haran, northeast of Canaan, and find a wife for Isaac. Eliezer dutifully goes to Haran and is immediately successful in finding Rebecca, who happens to be from Abraham’s family (a granddaughter of Abraham’s brother, Nachor – making Rebecca and Isaac first cousins once removed). Thankfully, Eliezer convinces her resistant family to let her return with him to Canaan to marry Isaac.


The Torah is effusive in its description of Eliezer, calling him “the elder of his house and the one who rules everything that is his [Abraham’s].” The Bat Ayin on Genesis 24:2 wonders as to how Eliezer achieved such distinction as a servant. He explains that Eliezer had such respect and awe for Abraham, that he completely identified with Abraham’s mission and goals and annulled his own desires to the extent that he was the ultimate agent on Abraham’s behalf. The Bat Ayin elaborates that when a servant of the king is so closely identified with the king, then the servant, in a certain respect, is comparable to the king, in his power and majesty.

Eliezer subsumed and annulled his own desires so thoroughly and took on Abraham’s goals so devotedly that he became comparable to Abraham himself. That gave Abraham the confidence to send Eliezer on this most vital mission for the continuity of his family, to find a suitable match for Isaac. Hence, the Torah’s description of Eliezer as “the elder of his house and the one who rules everything that is his.”

By surrendering his own ego and fully accepting the role of a humble servant, Eliezer became the authoritative representative of the great Abraham and the master of Abraham’s entire domain.

May we realize that to serve often means to lead.

Shabbat Shalom,


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Rabbi Ben-Tzion Spitz is the former Chief Rabbi of Uruguay. He is the author of over a dozen books on Torah themes, including a Biblical Fiction series. He is the publisher of a website dedicated to the exploration of classic Jewish texts, as well as TweetYomi, which publishes daily Torah tweets. Ben-Tzion is a graduate of Yeshiva University and received his Master’s in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University.