B”H Chayei Sarah 5776
One of the highlights in this week’s Torah reading is the very important mission of Eliezer, servant to Avrohom. In this episode which takes up the bulk of the Torah portion, Abraham appoints Eliezer as his Shliach / personal emissary / proxy / representative, to find a wife for his son Isaac. It is the first instance where we are introduced to the concept of a Shliach / personal emissary. In fact, many of the laws pertaining to appointing a proxy or representative that can act not only on behalf of his sender, but as if he was the sender himself, have a basis in this event. Often, the Rebbe would speak about this concept on this Shabbos, as the International annual convention of Shluchim most frequently coincides with this specific parsha.
As Abraham’s representative, Eliezer makes sure that he is totally focused on his mission, not doing anything else or addressing any other matter until he fulfills the purpose of his master’s objective. He does not even refer to himself as a separate entity but as “I am the servant of Abraham”. As we know in Jewish law, whatever a servant has or is, his master owns legally, being not only an extension of his master’s being but as the master himself.
It is this unique role of the 5,000 plus emissaries that have been appointed to their positions by the Rebbe to fulfill his strategic vision that has captured the imagination and reality of the Jewish world and even the extended world.
When I participate in this electrifying gathering, which I will do please G-d this Sunday, and bond as a singular force together with more than 5,000 of my colleagues, friends and fellow Shluchim, we will not feel as individuals in our particular role and mission but as a unified, single body, enhanced by the beyond comprehension Rebbe’s presence and our mission. Each one of these representatives incorporates a devotion, dedication and love for every single Jewish man, woman and child they meet, regardless of station in life or any other criteria, and treats them like a brother and sister.
Beyond the very significant, practical benefits that a Shliach brings to his community and area of endeavor, helping those who are hungry for knowledge or spiritual fulfillment to reach their objectives; those who are physically hungry for food to be satiated with the simple fundamental needs of daily living; those who are hungry for emotional support to receive that, and even those who are psychologically and otherwise challenged to also be embraced and included. These representatives of the Rebbe who visit the luxurious offices of metropolitan downtowns, beautiful homes, beautiful neighborhoods, prisons, hospitals and anywhere that someone is crying in need or pain bring a transcendent dimension of holiness wherever they are.
To instill that quality of true caring, sharing, loving, embracing and selflessly devoting their lives to the overarching mission of bringing Moshiach, requires a leader who personifies all of these qualities in the most exceptional way.
Eliezer was not Abraham but grew up in Abraham’s home and was imbued with the quality of Abraham’s stellar behavior and character. He exuded kindness and goodness because his home was saturated with those incredible, warm and welcoming behaviors. As King Solomon describes this ultimate relationship “as the reflection of a face in water so is the heart of man” – whatever you project rebounds to you.
We are not Rebbes but as his Shluchim / emissaries and representatives, he has embedded in each of us his own G-dly way that he paved for the advent of Moshiach.
As the Rebbe blessed Chani and myself when he launched us as his Shluchim – “Ich for doch mit eich” – I am travelling together with you. He is not only at the convention but here in our community.
That’s the feeling that fills me in a most potent way when I connect with the thousands of the Rebbe’s manifestation – his Shluchim.
Have a great Shabbos and a good week,
Rabbi Sholom D. Lipskar