Attention to Intention

When people are in the market for a new car they generally know what they’re interested in. The same thing goes when shopping for new appliances, a TV or a new phone. In pretty much every sphere of life when aiming to acquire something new, we do our research, assess what it is we need, and then pursue the item.

Let’s take this concept to another level; what about when you are ready to make a decision about a life partner, a spouse? This is arguably the most important relational commitment people make because it serves as the bedrock foundation for your future. Shouldn’t we also consider, to great lengths, what it is that we are looking for before we make such an vital decision?

In Parshat Chayei Sarah 24:4, Avraham sends his trusted servant Eliezer to find a wife for Isaac:

כִּ֧י אֶל־אַרְצִ֛י וְאֶל־מוֹלַדְתִּ֖י תֵּלֵ֑ךְ וְלָקַחְתָּ֥ אִשָּׁ֖ה לִבְנִ֥י לְיִצְחָֽק׃

You will go to the land of my birth and seek a wife for my son Isaac.

Avraham specifically instructed Eliezer to search for a woman in Haran, as character development was paramount in that region.

Geneses 24:46 goes on to say,

תְּמַהֵ֗ר וַתּ֤וֹרֶד כַּדָּהּ֙ מֵֽעָלֶ֔יהָ וַתֹּ֣אמֶר שְׁתֵ֔ה וְגַם־גְּמַלֶּ֖יךָ אַשְׁקֶ֑ה וָאֵ֕שְׁתְּ וְגַ֥ם הַגְּמַלִּ֖ים הִשְׁקָֽתָה׃

Rebecca quickly lowered her jar and said, “Drink, and I will also water your camels.” So I drank, and she also watered the camels. 

What was it that led Eliezer to choose Rebecca as the wife for Isaac?

Rebecca was beautiful, smart and from Avraham’s family, but the deciding factor as to why Eliezer chose her was because of her kindness. She not only offered Eliezer a drink, but also gave to of the camel drivers and the camels themselves. Her kindness was overflowing.

Kindness was the necessary trait that sealed her entry to the house of Avraham. Avraham found G-d when recognizing G-d’s divine kindness.  Avraham and Sarah maintained an open tent living a life of kindness. When seeking a life partner, there most certainly must be chemistry, attraction, and most importantly, similar and complimentary life goals.

There is a great emphasis in our world of living with intent as we go about our lives. When we are eating, being mindful and intentional as to what we are eating, why we are eating it, how much we are eating and the source of our sustenance. The same is true with exercise, prayer, and travel; exercising intention makes these pursuits more meaningful.

Our relationship with others, particularly our life partner, is the ultimate example of intention. Whether it be pursuing a life partner or spending time with this chosen person, doing so intentionally will result in better success and happiness.

Avraham sent Eliezer to intentionally seek the right wife for Isaac. In seeing her outstanding character and kindness, he understood this was the right match.      

Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Epstein
Community Scholar in Residence