Parashat Hayeh Sara- Controlling One’s Money
Parashat Hayeh-Sara tells the famous story of Eliezer, Abraham Abinu’s trusted servant, whom Abraham assigns the mission to travel to Abraham’s homeland and bring a suitable wife for his son, Yishak.
In introducing this story, the Torah describes Eliezer as not just Abraham’s servant, but also "Ha’moshel Be’chol Asher Lo" – "the one who controlled all he had" (24:2). At first glance, this means that he entrusted Eliezer with full control over all his assets. Abraham had such faith in Eliezer that he gave him full access to everything he had, and so he was prepared to entrust him also with the great responsibility of finding a wife for Yishak.
The Keli Yakar (Rav Shlomo Efrayim Luntschitz, 1550-1619), however, offers a different interpretation of this verse. He suggests that when Eliezer is described as controlling "all he had," this means not that he controlled all of Avraham’s assets, but that he controlled his own assets. Eliezer, the Keli Yakar explains, was a very wealthy man. Some wealthy people are controlled by their wealth. Their material possessions are their very highest priority, and so everything they do is, in a sense, at the mercy of their financial considerations. Such people are easily manipulated and bribed, because they are prepared to compromise their principles and other important matters for the sake of money.
The Torah therefore emphasized that Eliezer was "Moshel Be’chol Asher Lo" – in full control of his money," because this is precisely the reason why Abraham trusted him with the responsibility of finding a suitable match for Yishak. If Eliezer had been the type who was controlled by his money, then Abraham would have needed to fear that he might be bribed. Parents might have tried to pay Eliezer in exchange for the privilege of having their daughter marry Yishak and join the distinguished, wealthy family of Abraham Avinu. Only somebody who was "Moshe Be’chol Asher Lo," who exercised full control over his financial condition, could be trusted to refuse such offers and to commit to bring the most suitable match for Yishak.
Let us try to ensure that we exert full control over all our belongings, and never become slaves of our material possessions.