In all of Genesis, who is the character that we can most identify with?

It is not one of our three Patriarchs or four Matriarchs, nor one of their children or relatives.

That character, in whom we see our own story, is noneIt can be hard to identify with our patriarchs and matriarchs other than the hero of this week’s Torah portion: Eliezer, the servant of Abraham.

The Patriarchs and Matriarchs are more than just the founding fathers and mothers of our people. According to Kabbalistic teachings, the soul of each and every Jew comprises the qualities and attributes embodied by them.

And yet, often, it can be hard for us to identify with our Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The Midrash teaches us that “the Patriarchs are truly the [divine] chariot”—just as a chariot has no will of its own, and is but a vehicle for the rider, so too the Patriarchs served as a vehicle for nothing but the divine will.

So while our soul possesses love, the attribute of Abraham, discipline, the attribute of Isaac, and compassion, the attribute of Jacob, we also cling to our own aspirations. We navigate through life, and we want to know “what’s in it for me.” We don’t always identify with the “chariot” of our history, with those men and women who saw themselves exclusively as vehicles of the Divine will.

Enter Eliezer.

Eliezer was the servant of Abraham, dispatched to a distant land to find a bride for Isaac. Eliezer was entrusted with facilitating the marriage that would produce the Jewish people. It was his job to bring about the union of heaven and earth.

Eliezer himself had mixed feelings about his mission. On the one hand, he understood the importance of fulfilling Abraham’s request that he find a wife for Isaac from among Abraham’s family, but on the other hand, he had a psychological resistance to the success of the mission. According to the Midrash, Eliezer hoped that his own daughter would be the one to marry Isaac; thus, the success of his mission would spell the end of his personal aspiration.

Before Eliezer embarked on his mission, he said to Abraham: “Perhaps the woman will not follow me?” Rashi points out that there was a deeper meaning to this innocent-sounding question:

Perhaps the woman will not follow me: It [the word אֻלַי (perhaps)] is written [without a vav and may be read] אֵלַי (to me). Eliezer had a daughter, and he was looking for a pretext so that Abraham would tell him, to turn to him, to marry off his daughter to him (Isaac).1

Eliezer was not aEliezer was an independent person son who was capable of completely surrendering himself to his parents. Eliezer was an independent person. An emissary. An individual with his own personality, perspective and agenda. And yet, it was specifically Eliezer, despite his misgivings about the mission, who succeeded in arranging the marriage. He was the one who, relying on his own initiative, using his own creativity, employing his own judgment, was instrumental in the marriage that would perpetuate Abraham’s legacy for all future generations.

If the purpose of creation is to bring together spirit and matter, then that purpose must be carried out by people like you and me, who, like Eliezer, possess both polar opposites within themselves. By combining our own identity and perspective with the will of the Divine, we are able to use our personal gifts, talents and unique touch to carry out the vision of the Creator. Only when the two diametrical parts of ourselves, the voice of Abraham and the voice of our own individuality, collaborate to achieve one goal are we able to unite our internal “heaven” and “earth,” thus fulfilling the purpose of creation.2