Chayei Sarah: Rings, Bracelets and a Well

” . . . and she ran again to the well to draw water, and she drew for all his camels.”

“Now it came about, when the camels had finished drinking, that the man took a golden nose ring, weighing half  a shekel, and two bracelets for her hands, weighing ten gold shekels.”

Rashi: Eliezer gave Rivka the jewelry, betrothing her to Yitzchak, even before he asks her name, such was his faith that Hashem had led him to the right one. In recounting events to Lavan and Besuel, to make the story more plausible, Eliezer reverses the order, saying that he asked Rivka who she was and then gave the jewelry. “He changed the order . . . that they would not catch him out and say: How did you give her before you knew who she was?”

Why did Eliezer think that Besuel and Lavan would not accept the real order of events?

People tend to project their own traits onto others. Because Lavan knew he could not be trusted, he was a suspicious person.  Lavan would not have understood Eliezer’s level of trust in Hashem.

From this, The Shmuz Blog makes an interesting observation: The better our middos, the better we are able to perceive the goodness in others and the better we are able to connect to Hashem.

Nehama Leibowitz, New Studies in Beresheit, quotes from Isaac Arama, Aketat Yitchak, to give a different explanation. Eliezer had told by Avraham that ” you shall go to my land and to my birthplace, and you shall take a wife for my son, for Isaac.” In order to present the matter in the most pleasing light to Rivkah’s family, Eliezer tells them that he had been told “you must go to my father’s house and to my family, and take a wife for my son.” If he told them that he gave the jewelry without finding out first if Rivkah was a kinswoman, he would have been contradicting his earlier statement. “This is what Rashi referred to when he stated that Eliezer was afraid that they would catch him out.”

More Rashi: the half shekel value of the nose ring was an allusion to the half shekel donated by B’Nei Yisrael for the the Beis HaMikdash, and the two bracelets of ten shekel weight were an allusion to the Shney HaLuchot and Aseret HaDibrot.

Rashi also references how all the other nations, when asked if they wanted the Torah, first asked what it was. Bnei Yisrael said, “Naaseh v’nishmah,” “we will do, and then we will hear/understand.”

At NCYI, Rabbi Boaz Tomsky explains the connection: Eliezer’s giving of the jewelry without asking for more information is like Bnei Yisrael accepting the Torah on faith.

Short Vort offers another explanation from the Maharal: In connection to the principle that “The world stands of three things: Torah, avodah, and gemilus chasidim,” The bracelet is seen as an allusion to Torah (Aseret HaDibrot) and the nose ring is an allusion to avodah (half shekel for Beit HaMikdash). Eliezer saw that Rivkah understood gemilas chesed, but he wanted her to understand the importance of avodah and Torah, as well.

For this parsha: a well (Pumpkin Spice Bundt Cake) and jewelry (cookie rings).

For the cookies, I thought it would make sense to go with a Sephardic ring cookies, the kind that is often made for simchas (like weddings).

I used Riva’s recipe for Bischochos, but I also considered graybeh (Aromas of Aleppo, Gourmet) and even ghouribi, although they are not ring cookies (Joan Nathan).

Any cookie dough will work, though.

Just bake cookie rings, glaze with egg yolk, and sprinkle with gold and silver sprinkles, candy pearls, etc. I also make cookie icing and let the kids use that as glue for the sprinkles.

For the cake, I made a very seasonally appropriate pumpkin spice cake (vegan!) and filled the center with the leftover cookie icing,tinted blue.

Here are some other parsha project ideas:

Juggling Frogs (2007): a cave cake, camel cookies, and a well made out matzohs and vegetables and individual wells made out of graham crackers glued together with melted chocolate.

Parsha Project Blog: Make a well out of a milk carton (very cool craft!) as a centerpiece. Also camel cookies.

Parsha Mom’s ideas (2008 and 2009):

Decorate the table with pearl garlands from the craft store and also candy “jewelry” and chocolate coins (for the jewelry given to Rivkah and for the 400 shekels used to pay for Me’arat HaMachpelah).
Use the well theme with food: watermelon basket, puff pastry shells, stuffed pumpkin shells, etc.
Camel cookies

Themed Thinking: “camel” chicken fingers around a well of honey mustard dipping sauce.

3 Responses to “Chayei Sarah: Rings, Bracelets and a Well”

  1. Leora Says:

    If I had the energy, this topic would make a nice painting.

    I like this one:
    “The bracelet is seen as an allusion to Torah (Aseret HaDibrot) and the nose ring is an allusion to avodah (half shekel for Beit HaMikdash). Eliezer saw that Rivkah understood gemilas chesed, but he wanted her to understand the importance of avodah and Torah, as well.”

  2. Tali Simon @ More Quiche, Please Says:

    Terrific dessert ideas. Bereshit parshas are the best.

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