Matchmaking. Is there any word more likely to conjure up images of Eastern Europe’s 19th-Century shtetls, as showcased in ‘Fiddler on the Roof’? Perhaps not- but matchmaking actually goes back a lot further than that, back to the days of the Avos (forefathers), and, in this week’s Parsha, we watch as Avrohom’s servant, Eliezer, is sent out to find a match for Yitzchok. He returns with Rivka; a maiden who passes the rather unusual ‘test’ which was set to find a suitor for Yitzchok. What was this test? Eliezer decided that the woman who brought water not just for him, but for his camels, was destined for his master’s son. But what exactly does this test mean?
Simply put, the woman who passes this test undoubtably possesses the trait of kindness. And kindness is all important in Judaism, especially in a potential spouse; in fact, we read in the Tehillim that the world is built on kindness, a statement expanded in Pirkei Avos to include Torah study and service of G-d. There’s no doubt about it: Eliezer was looking for someone kind-hearted, who went above and beyond to make a traveller, and his livestock, comfortable.
Undeniably, there are many other important things to consider in a match. Other personality traits- such as a commitment to charity, a love for tradition, and a dedication to Torah study- are important, as are other factors which may affect a couple’s compatibility. But kindness- at least in Yitzchok and Rivka’s case- surpasses them all. This teaches us just how important kindness is- and, speaking from experience, it really is.
We often underestimate the power of just one kind act. In Rivka’s case, it led her to marry Yitzchok, but we shouldn’t do kind things in expectance of a reward (either from Hashem or our fellow man). We should do kind deeds because we feel a deep desire to help others and spread ahavos Yisroel, and because we realise that the world we live in stands on our own kind deeds. We all have the power to bring Moshiach- if only we realised our own power, the world would change very quickly. So what are you waiting for? Let’s start spreading kindness straightaway.
This dvar Torah is dedicated to Shmuel Yossef ben Soroh Malka- we should be zoche to witness his refuah shleimah.