Doors Wide Open

Rivka arrives at Sara’s tent (Bereshit 24:67):

(67) “And Yitzchak took her to his mother Sara’s tent, and he took Rivka as a wife, and he loved her, and he was consoled after his mother.”

Rashi writes that Yitzchak saw three things in Rivka that were similarly found in his mother Sara: The candles were lit from Shabbat to Shabbat, her dough was blessed and the cloud of Divine Glory rested upon her tent:

To his mother Sara’s tent- And he brought her to the tent and she made to be in the model of his mother Sara, meaning she is like his mother Sara, that the whole time that Sara was alive the candles stay lit from Shabbat eve to Shabbat eve, and her dough was blessed, and a cloud hovered over the tent, and when Sara died they ceased, and when Rivka came they returned.

The Midrash also brings a fourth item: the entrances to the tent were opened wide (Bershit Rabba Chayei Sara 60:16)

And Yitzchak brought her to his mother Sara’s tent.

All the days that Sara was alive a cloud hovered over her tent, and once she died the cloud ceased, and once Rivka came the very same cloud returned.

All the days that Sara was alive the entrances to the tent were open wide, once she died, the entrance ceased to be opened wide, and once Rivka came they returned to being open wide.

All the days that Sara was alive her dough was imbued with blessing, and once she died the blessing ceased, and once Rivka came it returned.

All the days that Sara was alive there was a candle that stay lit from Shabbat eve to Shabbat eve, and once she died the candle ceased, and once Rivka came it returned.

Once [Yitzchak] saw that she emulated his mother’s actions, taking challah in purity and taking the dough in purity, immediately Yitzchak brought her to the tent. Rabbi Yudan said, “The Torah teaches you that if you have older sons, you should marry them off first, and then a wife for yourself. Who do we learn this from? Avraham, who in the first, ‘Yitzchak brought her to the tent of his mother Sara’, and afterwards, ‘And Avraham continued and took for himself a wife’”.

Rashi only mentions three things: The Cloud, the blessing in the dough, and the candle that was lit from Shabbat to Shabbat. Why doesn’t he mention “The entrance was wide open” (the Maharal asks this question)?

It appears that all the things aren’t direct results of Rivka’s actions.

Making the entrance to the tent wide open – is a direct action of Rivka.

Yitzchak recognizes the traits of Rivka:

He knows that she is one who performs kindnesses, as the stories he heard from Eliezer indicate, as well as his own impressions from the fact that she opens the entrance of the tent.

He knows that Rivka understands how to join between the holy and the mundane, even though she was steeped in the world of the mundane, and even though she was in the home of Lavan and Betuel, she remained holy.

He knows that she has faith in the special attribute of providence, and as a result she agreed to go with Eliezer (otherwise, it is difficult to understand how a young girl would be prepared to leave her father’s home for an unknown groom).

He recognizes these qualities, but now realizes how personal and genuine they are to the extent that Divine providence connects with them. He sees that the woman of kindness, whose entrances are opened outward, merits an abundance of blessing in the home – blessing in the dough. He sees Rivka connect the holy and mundane; she merits that the candles should continue to burn from one Shabbat to the next, thereby connecting the holiness of Shabbat to all the days of the week. He sees Rivka’s quality of faith in providence, which makes the home like a Mishkan, a resting place for the Divine Presence whereby the cloud hovers over the tent.

Rashi doesn’t mention the qualities, but only the Divine signs, and that through them he sees the providence over righteous Rivka:

Spiritual blessing- The cloud hovering over the tent.

Physical blessing- The blessing present in the dough.

The blessing of holiness in the holy as well as the mundane- The candle lit from Shabbat to Shabbat.

After Yitzchak sees all this- then he “loves her”.

What was lacking was not just that Sara departed from the world. When one departs, a void of important attributes also departs from the world. Yitzchak saw Rivka’s own attributes, and saw the spiritual impact on the home, which filled the void in the world left by Sara’s death – and immediately “he loved her, and Yitzchak was consoled after his mother.”

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