This week's Torah reading contains the first description of how a match came about between our ancestors, Isaac and Rebecca. According to Rebbe Michil of Zlotchov, a basic secret of a good Jewish marriage is learning Torah. Eliezer, Abraham's servant, describes the events leading to his meeting Rebecca: "And I was standing by the well, and the daughters of the townspeople approached". (Gen. 24:43) Eliezer just mentioned in the previous verse that he was by the well. Why does he repeat this detail? Rebbe Michil answers with a teaching he received from his father about Hagar, Sara's maidservant from last week's portion.

It was only by a well that an angel could appear to her….

When Hagar was sent from Abraham's home, the Torah says that an angel found her by a well. Once she was no longer a member of Abraham's household, she no longer had the merit to see angels. It was only by a well that an angel could appear to her because of the holy dimension of water. Water is compared to and connected to Torah, G‑d's will and wisdom. Just like Torah, water comes from the highest heights into the world, in order to nourish and strengthen. So it was only by water that the angel could appear to her.

This was also true regarding Eliezer. Eliezer was an extremely humble person; he assumed that because of his lowliness and unworthiness that G‑d would not allow him to fulfill his mission. Therefore, he specifically states that he was standing by a well. Even if he was not worthy, perhaps in the merit of the water he would be able to do as his master requested of him.

This connects to what it says in the Midrash (Yalkut Shimoni, Ezekiel 331a) that outside of Israel, G‑d's indwelling presence - the Shechinah - cannot reveal itself except near water, due to water's special qualities, as mentioned above. The lesson for all of us is that to insure that we succeed in all of our endeavors (and particularly in our marriages!) we must study Torah which is called "a flowing well". Through Torah study, which is compared to water, the Shechinah can dwell with us. This will bring great revelations, and ultimately, please G‑d soon, the Redemption.

The Shelah writes of the great merit to succeed in helping your children find their soul mates. Do your best to connect to good families just as Abraham did. Although it became apparent later that Rebecca was a righteous prophetess, Abraham ostensibly recommended her originally because she was from a good family, relative to those times.

Shabbat Shalom, Shaul

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