This post is dedicated in memory of Etya Sarah bat Yitzchak ha-Levi. May it be an aliyah for her neshama.
We first meet Rivka at the well of water: Avraham's servant, Eliezer, has set out
to find a wife for Yitzhak, and requests a sign from God, to know for certain that
he has found Miss Right:
"If the girl should say to me: 'Drink, and also I will give your camels to
drink,' she is the one You have designated for… Yitzhak." (Genesis 24:14)
The fulfillment of this condition is carried out by Rivka, with great alacrity:
"And she said: “Drink”… and she hurried and lowered the pitcher… and she
rushed and poured the water into the trough, and ran back to the well to draw for all the camels." (Genesis 24:18-20)
The energy and devotion that this young girl exhibits is nothing short of amazing
-- especially given that this task could have reasonably been delegated to
Eliezer, a stranger. Yet she kept lowering her pail, over and over again, until she
was satisfied that Eliezer and all 10 camels (!) had quenched their thirst.
Here is a woman (a young girl, really) who, against the odds, has learned to
become a giving, selfless individual -- while living amidst greedy, materialistic,
Rivka’s independent streak becomes evident once again when her family wishes
to delay her departure with Eliezer, who claims to be in service of a holy man
with a mission. They ask Rivka’s opinion, and she states unequivocally, "I will go"
Rivka makes herself clear: I want to leave here and go become part of
something big, a mission to spread monotheism and ethics to the world, away
from this family and culture which have little to offer.
by Dina Coopersmith