By: Rabbi Osher Jungreis
A careful study of the parsha even highlights the specifics of courtship and marriage and offers the guidance that we so sorely need in our generation as our singles population increases and it becomes more and more difficult to find our bashertes. But for now, let us focus on the primary factor in how to find a shidduch.
Toward the end of the parsha, we find that Isaac instituted the mincha (afternoon) service, and as soon as he concluded his prayers, “he lifted up his eyes and lo and behold, there was his beautiful bride, Rivka.” (Genesis 24:62-64). From this we learn that first and foremost, we must pray for G-d`s help in finding our mates. This teaching is reinforced throughout the parsha. Eliezer, the loyal servant of Abraham, who is commissioned to search for a bride for Isaac, embarks upon his mission with prayer, asking for G-d`s chesed – loving-kindness (Genesis 24:12). Now, if Isaac, who was the most eligible bachelor of his generation–brilliant, handsome and wealthy, the scion of a great family, needed G-d`s mercy, what are we to say?
Furthermore, when Abraham charges Eliezer with his mission, he too prays and asks for the guidance and help of the G-d of heaven and earth, teaching us that a shidduch is first made in heaven, and therefore, it is only G-d who can enable us to find him/her.
The question however still remains: why was it specifically the mincha service that made the shidduch come about? Our sages explain that of the three services, shacharis (morning), mincha (afternoon), maariv (evening), it is mincha that demands the greatest discipline and sacrifice. In the morning, as we commence our day, there is an inclination to pray and seek G-d`s blessings. In the evening, as the day`s toil comes to an end and darkness envelops us once again there is a desire to pray, but in the hustle and bustle of the day, the myriad pressures of work that are a part of one`s daily occupation, it is easy to forget and difficult to stop to pray. But the one who is able to do so, the one who is able to say, “I`m putting everything on hold in order to turn to my G-d in prayer, demonstrates immense faith, discipline and sacrifice, and therefore merits special attention from G-d.
This lesson has profound implications for us. When we show that nothing, not even our business can deter us from serving the Almighty, we can anticipate that He too will respond in kind. These teachings hold true in all of our relationships with G-d. Torah study must become our priority and we should not hold it in abeyance until such time as we no longer are in business or have more time. Precisely because we are enmeshed in a high pressure world we must stop and offer our hearts to G-d in prayer and Torah study. Through that devotion, we will create a special relationship between ourselves and our Heavenly Father–a relationship that will remain for all eternity and protect us.
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