Meet the main protagonist of this week's Torah portion: Eliezer. A majority of the reading discusses his venture to find a wife for Isaac, his boss's son. The Torah describes in relative length the drama of the Torah's first recorded matchmaking effort.
Throughout the narrative, Eliezer encounters miracles in abundance: obstacles disappear from his path, and his prayers are answered instantly. Nevertheless, what is striking is that his ego remains in check; not once in the story does the Torah even mention his name, instead referring to him as "the servant of Abraham."
Later, when he finds The Girl, he sets up an official meeting with her parents in order to ask for her hand in marriage. They ask him to speak.
It is not about him; it never was about him...
What are the first words that exit his mouth? Eved Avraham anochi. "I am Abraham's servant." And then he goes on to lavish praise on his boss.
No name, no identity, no "Harvard Grad '86, Yale '89, fed the starving in Albania in '97, joined the March for the Homeless 2000, top executive in a Fortune 500 company, board member at the local JCC, plays golf to support the local Hadassah chapter, and has a wonderful relationship with his three exes..."
He could have boasted about the fact that he was "in" with one of the most powerful and perhaps the most popular man alive. He could have sung his own accomplishments and credentials. He could have just said, "I am Abraham's right hand man, and I even provide the gossip columnists with tons of material about him, of course under anonymity..."
But nothing of that. It is not about him; it never was about him.
The Midrash tells a fascinating tidbit about Eliezer. He had a daughter, whom he deeply wished would marry Isaac. When he broached the subject to his boss, Abraham responded: "I am blessed and you are cursed [Eliezer was a descendant of Canaan, who was cursed by Noah]. And the blessed don't marry the cursed."
Imagine hearing such words from your boss… Chances are you would tender your resignation papers that afternoon, then open a competing business next door…
Not Eliezer. Not only didn't he quit, but he actually went on the mission to find Isaac a wife! Could you believe that? He didn't say, "Oh please, I'll do any other job, but this mission is a bit too sensitive for me…" He went with his whole heart.
It was about fulfilling the wishes of his masterAnd when asked for his identity, he stands up and proclaims, "I am Abraham's servant!"
It never was about him or his business card. It was about fulfilling the wishes of his master.
If only we could take this lesson to heart…
After all, don't we all have a Master?