Parashat Hayeh-Sara: Shidduchim and G-d’s Angel
Parashat Hayeh-Sara tells the famous story of Eliezer, Abraham Abinu’s servant, whom Abraham sent to Aram Naharayim to find a girl for Yitzhak. Eliezer’s mission was successful, as he brought Ribka, a righteous granddaughter of Abraham’s brother, to Eretz Yisrael to marry Yitzhak.
When Abraham assigned to Eliezer this mission, he assured him that G-d would "send his angel before you" to guarantee his success (24:7).
Who was this angel?
The Shela Ha’kadosh (Rav Yeshaya Horowitz, d. 1630) explains that this was none other than the angel "Matat-Ron," the chief of all the angels in the heavens. The Torah here refers to Eliezer as Abraham’s servant "Ha’moshel Be’chol Asher Lo" – who controlled all of Abraham’s property (24:2). The Shela writes that Matat-Ron has the corresponding role in the heavens, governing all the other angels, and this angel was dispatched to accompany Eliezer and ensure the success of his mission.
For this reason, the Shela explains, the Torah in this section sometimes refers to Eliezer as "Ha’ebed" – "the servant," and at other times, "Ha’ish" – literally, "the man." The Shela notes that in some contexts, the word "Ish" refers to an angel that was sent to this world to fulfill a certain mission. In this narrative, then, the word "Ha’ish" refers not to Eliezer, but rather to Matat-Ron, the angel who accompanied him and guaranteed that he would succeed.
Indeed, the Midrash teaches that when Ribka’s family saw the wealth that Eliezer had brought with him, they tried to kill him by poisoning the food that they served him, so they could seize his riches. However, an angel switched the dishes, taking the plate served to Eliezer and placing it in front of Betuel, Ribka’s father, killing him. This angel was Matat-Ron, the angel sent especially to protect Eliezer and ensure his success.
The Shela adds that this explains the verse at the conclusion of the story (24:61), which tells that Ribka and her helpers followed the "Ish" ("Va’telechna Ahareh Ha’ish"), and then says that "the servant took Ribka" ("Va’yikah Ha’ebed Et Ribka"). The "Ish," as mentioned, refers to the angel. The angel’s job was to assure that Eliezer would be able to bring Ribka out of her family’s home. Once the mission was accomplished, the angel left, and thus after Ribka went with the "Ish," the angel, it returned to the heavens, and "the servant" – Eliezer – took Ribka to marry Yitzhak.
This story reassures us that particularly when it comes to the area of Shidduchim, we must place our trust in G-d, and firmly believe that He has sent His angel to find every person his or her match. The right Shidduch will come when it is supposed to come, and nothing can ever get in the way. Hashem even dispatches His angels to make sure it happens.
The story is told of a yeshiva student in Hungary who posed a very difficult question to his Rosh Yeshiva. The Rosh Yeshiva did know the answer, and so the student wrote to several of the leading Torah sages of the time. One of the Rabbis sent a brilliant answer to the question, and the student was amazed. He asked his Rosh Yeshiva for permission to travel to meet this certain Rabbi, and the Rosh Yeshiva agreed.
Along the trip, the student lodged in an inn, and he met there another yeshiva student. They began talking, and the other student informed him that he was a disciple of the Hatam Sofer (Rav Moshe Sofer of Pressburg, 1762-1839), who had sent him to deliver a letter to a certain Rabbi. It turned out that the Rabbi he was sent to was the same Rabbi that the first yeshiva student was going to visit. The other student asked him if he could bring the letter for him to save him a trip, and he agreed.
He continued his journey, reached the Rabbi, and spent a number of days learning Torah with him. Before he left, he said, "I almost forgot – I met somebody on the way here who needed to deliver a letter to the Rabbi from the Hatam Sofer!"
He handed the Rabbi the letter, and he read it. He then closed it, looked at the yeshiva student, and said, "Mazal tov! I am pleased that you will be marrying my daughter!"
As it turned out, the Hatam Sofer had written to this Rabbi that he should have his daughter marry the boy who brought him that letter…
When G-d decides to make a Shidduch, not even a righteous Sadik like the Hatam Sofer can get in the way.
Let us, then, stop worrying, place our faith in Hashem, and trust that an angel has already been dispatched to find each and every person their intended mate.