“I came this day to the spring. . .”

-Chayei Sarah 24:42

Eliezer, Abraham’s servant, traveled to Aram Naharayim to seek a bride for Isaac. When he found Rivkah, he told her family about his mission and said, “I came this day.” Our sages explain that this phrase alludes to an extraordinary miracle that occurred to him: “I set out this day and I arrived this day.” In other words, the journey that would normally have taken 17 days was shortened for him and was completed within one day!

Why such a miracle, and why did Eliezer mention it?

The Midrash (Bereishit Rabba 63:4) states that Rivkah, in the house of her father, was “like a rose among thorns”(Song 2:2). A rose grows among thorns, because they help its preservation and development (Zohar II:20b). On the other hand, the whole plot is irrigated by virtue of the rose, thus benefiting the thorns and other vegetation as well. The thorns are removed only when we wish to obtain the rose itself.

Abraham perceived the very moment that Rivkah was ready to be married and immediately sent Eliezer to bring her to Isaac. This mission to “remove the rose from among the thorns” could not start earlier, before Rivkah had reached a marriageable age. If Eliezer’s journey had run its normative course of 17 days, Rivkah would have had to remain with her family (the “thorns”) for a longer period of time. That is why the journey was shortened miraculously-to avoid any unnecessary detention of Rivkah.

Likewise, Eliezer realized that Rivkah’s family would argue that she should still remain with them for a while (“Let the girl stay with us for a year or ten months”; Chayei Sarah 24:55). Thus, he spoke emphatically: “ ‘I came this day!’ You are to know that time is of the essence. Every moment counts, as is evident from the fact that ‘this day I set out and this day I arrived.’ ”

There is an obvious moral relevant to us, in context of the principle that “The events of the ancestors are an indication for their descendants.” In the case of Rivkah there was a shortening of the journey to avoid that she remain even one extra moment among the “thorns”, in the house of her wicked father and brother. The same applies to us. We are not to become despondent over the darkness of the galut: the Almighty will surely hasten the redemption to prevent our being in galut even one moment longer than necessary!