Then Yitz'chak brought her into his mother Sarah's tent and took Rivkah, and she became his wife, and he loved her. Thus was Yitz'chak comforted for the loss of his mother. (Gen 24:67 CJB)
SARAH OUR MOTHER.
Our section this week starts with the words “Chayei Sarah…” which means, The Life of Sarah.” It is quite interesting because the parasha mostly concerns the aftermath of the death of Sara. What is also interesting is that it is mostly about Rivka, the wife to be of Isaac. To understand Rivka whom Isaac brings to his mother’s tent, we first must understand Sarah.
There are beautiful midrashes concerning Sarah. She is often depicted as Jerusalem. Here is a passage from a commentary that speaks of it.
“Traditional tales illustrate Sarah’s work in bringing strangers closer to the experience of God. In part, this is done by depicting Sarah’s tent a precursor to the Ohel Moed (Tent of Meeting, home of the Mishkan, which housed the Ark of the Covenant) and Beit Hamikdash (Temple in Jerusalem).
In the midrashic imagination, Sarah’s tent becomes a place in which God’s blessings and imminence can be experienced. Sarah’s death temporarily halts the miracles and good works associated with the tent; Rivka then reactivates the holiness of the tent with her marriage to Isaac, Sarah’s son.”
The midrash then adds,
“And Isaac brought her [Rivka] to the tent of Sarah, his mother. All the days in which Sarah lived, there was a cloud attached to the entrance of her tent. Since she died, the cloud ceased; and when Rivka came, the cloud returned. All the days in which Sarah lived, the doors of the entrance [to her tent] were open to the wind (ruah)…. And all the days in which Sarah lived, there was a blessing sent through the dough [with which she baked]…. All the days in which Sarah lived, there was a light burning from one Shabbat evening to the next Shabbat evening….” (Genesis Rabbah 80:16 on Genesis 24:67).
These characteristics of Sarah’s (and later Rivka’s) tent are parallel to characteristics of the Tabernacle and Temple. Sarah’s bread is like the shewbread, the light prefigures the Menorah, and the wind resembles the Holy Spirit, Ruah HaKodesh.
RIVKA THE BRIDE.
We previously talked about Isaac representing Messiah. Isaac climbed the same mountain Yeshua climbed. Like Yeshua he carried his own sacrificial wood. He was willing to do the will of his father above his own will. In the text of the Torah, Isaac disappears after the Akeida (After the sacrifice on the mountain.) The next time the text of the Torah makes mention of him is when he meets his bride Rivka as Eliezer arrives from Haran. In the same manner as Isaac, Yeshua also disappears from the public eye after the scene on Mt Golgotha, and He is said to reappear when he returns to meet his “bride” who by marriage to the King of Kings becomes the Queen(Rev 19: 6-9)
If Isaac then prefigures Messiah, Rivka pre-figures the Bride: The Body; the Congregation.
THE CHOOSING OF A QUEEN.
Isaac’s bride-to-be had big shoes to fill and Eliezer understood that. She was to comfort Isaac for the loss of Sarah his mother. As the new matriarch of the Abrahamic tribe, she couldn’t just be anybody. She had to be of a certain caliber of character. How would then Eliezer find a Sarah-like person in so little time?
That’s when HaShem inspired him with the idea,
I will say to one of the girls, 'Please lower your jug, so that I can drink.' If she answers, 'Yes, drink; and I will water your camels as well,' then let her be the one you intend for your servant Yitz'chak."(Gen 24:14 CJB)
To serve water to a stranger in the desert is good, but to offer to water his 10 camels who can each drink up to 15 gallons of water is very, very, very good.
The test that Eliezer set in order to find the acceptable bride for his master was a test of humility, voluntary service, and devotion.
Like Abraham her husband, Sarah was known to be a person of humble devoted service. In return, her dough was blessed; her light never went out and HaShem Presence was upon her. She was the ultimate “Eshet Chayeel/Woman of Valor” from Proverbs 31. Anyone to fill her shoes needed to be of the same serving, humble, and devoted temperament. None other will do.
RIVKA’S TWO TESTS.
Rivka passed the test of humility and service test when she served Eliezer and his camel. The second test came when she was asked, "Will you go with this man?" and she replied, "I will."(Gen 24:58 CJB) Without hesitation, she agreed to leave right away. In this, she passed the test of devotion.
When she arrived, Isaac right away brought her to the tent of his mother. At that moment, HaShem confirmed Eliezer’s successful mission when the Presence of the Shekinah, the blessing upon the dough, and the eternal Light that were upon Sarah and her tent during her living returned.
AND WHAT DOES THIS TEACH US?
If Isaac foreshadows Messiah and Rivka foreshadows the Bride, we have much to learn from Rivka.
For one, we must enter Sarah’s shoes. In the same way that Yeshua challenges us with, "If you are children of Avraham, then do the things Avraham did! (Joh 8:39 CJB), as the Bride, we are challenged today to enter Sarah's tent.
For the blessing of Sarah to come upon us as it did on Rivka, we must be of the same temperament as Rivka. Humbly devoted to serve Abraham’s many children; willing to open our tent to the stranger. Like with Rivka, to inherit the blessing that came on Sarah, we must live in the humble spirit of devotion of Sarah.
“Sarah’s tent” inherited by Rivka serves us today as an example as to what type of people we should be as those who are meant to represent Yeshua today.
Abraham’s tent was always opened to the stranger. Sarah’s tent was open to the Spirit. When the time came, both Abraham and Sarah hurried to serve. They did not dilly-dally or farm the task to someone else. (Gen 18)
MAY WE AS CONGREGATION LEADERS BE LIKE RIVKA.
MAY WE BE TRUE ESHET CHAYEEL AND REFLECT THE SPIRIT OF SARAH THE WIFE OF ABRAHAM.
MAY WE BE HUMBLY DEVOTED TO SERVE AND GIVE TO THE MILLIONS OF CHILDREN OF ABRAHAM WHICH ARE LIKE THE SAND OF THE SEASHORE IN MANY NATIONS.
MAY WE ALSO LIKE ISAAC DRINK FROM ABRAHAM’S’ WELL AND DO THE DEEDS OF ABRAHAM THAT THE NATIONS ALSO PROCLAIM WITH ABIMELECH, "We saw very clearly that Adonai has been with you.” (Gen 26:28 CJB)