The More Invested, the Greater the Return – Weekly Words of Torah, Chaye Sarah 5774

Insights into Parshat Chaye Sarah of Mr. Yitzchak Ginsberg of Yeshivat Sha’alvim, by Rav Re’uven Ungar of Sha’alvim. From the sefer Talelei Orot.

In this week’s parsha, Chaye Sarah, the pasuk says “And she went down to the spring, and she filled her jug, and she went back up.” (Bereshit 24:16) A famous Medrash (Bereshit Rabbah 60:5) tells us that when Rivka went to the well, a miracle happened and the water rose up to greet her. The Ramban points out that Eliezer saw many other women take water from the well and the water did not rise up to them. However, the Ramban continues and says that although this time the water rose up to her, when Rivka went to give Eliezer’s camels water to drink she actually had to draw the water herself (24:20) and no miracle occurred. Rav Zalman Sorotzkin asks why the first time Eliezer observed Rivka the miracle of the water rising happened, but not the second time?

Rav Sorotzkin answers that the first time Rivka went to get water from the well was no different than any other time Rivka went to the well to get water for her family. In the normal course of Rivka getting water from the well, because she was a tzadiket, Hashem took away the need for her to exert herself and the water rose up to greet her.

The second time Rivka went to get water from the well she did so as an act of chessed so Eliezer’s thirsty camels could drink. This time she drew the water herself and the water did not rise up to greet her Rav Sorotzkin explains that each time Rivka burdened herself by drawing and carrying heavy jugs of water to the trough for others only added more greatness to her act of chessed. If Hashem would have allowed the water rise up to her, it would have cheapened her act of chessed.

Many times we are presented with phenomenal chances to upgrade our Avodat Hashem. However, we are often intimidated because we see how much effort is required to take advantage of this opportunity. We should always keep in mind that the amount of energy put in only heightens the magnitude of the mitzvah. With this in mind hopefully we will be able to fulfill mitzvot we have at hand regardless of the level of difficulty.