Do You Know Who I Am?

Then he said, “A servant of Avraham am I.” (Beresheet 24:34)

Eliezer’s journey to Charan in search of a mate for his master’s son is a story so full of lessons for all generations that the usually terse Torah narrative uncharacteristically tells the whole story in full detail twice. First, we follow the events as they happen, and then Eliezer feels compelled to repeat the mission in detail again to Rivkah’s family.

Radak explains that his motive was to convince them that this couple was matched in Heaven and was a marriage that could not be refused. From the subtle changes between the two accounts, our commentators cull lessons that reveal the miracles that took place at the initial meeting of Rivkah and Eliezer, as well as the character of each participant in the day’s events.

Eliezer, surprisingly, opened his narration with the words, “A servant of Avraham am I.” Why was it necessary to reveal his status as a servant of Avraham? Secondly, why didn’t he suspect that the family might disrespect him when they realized he was a servant? Thirdly, he should have considered that when they thought about what a wealthy individual Avraham was, they might think that he was not a man to respect. “If he has so much wealth,” they might think, “couldn’t he send a better ambassador to select the wife of his heir?”

One should learn from the candid self-representation of Eliezer that a person, regardless of financial or status considerations, should always have a positive self-image. “I am who I am and I am proud of who I am” is the correct way to feel, always.

Secondly, a person should feel good about the positives he/she demonstrates. Eliezer declared that he was not merely a servant; he expressed pride in the fact that he served the distinguished personage of Avraham.

Thirdly, he did not take credit for the success of his mission. He attributed it all to Hashem. He told the story in a way that proved to all who heard of the events at the well that what he said and what he did, did not bring about the results. The proof of his success in that effort was the response of Rivkah’s family: “Then Lavan and Betuel answered and said, ‘The matter stemmed from Hashem! We can say to you neither bad nor good’” (Beresheet 24:50).

Lastly, we see that he learned the lesson of humility from his master. He took no credit whatsoever for the success of his mission. To the contrary, he stressed that he was granted success in the merit of the fact that he was a servant of Avraham.

One should consider how much time and effort one spends to “impress” people and create an impression of importance in the eyes of others. Most of what one puts forth is only unimportant externals. The correct stand to take is to express proudly and clearly: “I am a servant of the King of kings — Hashem!” This approach will not only earn respect but will also yield Heaven-sent success.

When one attributes one’s accomplishments to Hashem, attainment of goals is delivered from Above. It’s more important that one realize who one is than for others to acknowledge one’s importance.

Shabbat shalom.