Take the 2-minute tour ×
Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Avraham made Eliezer promise that he would only find a wife for Yitzchak from his family.

It seems to follow then, that as soon as Eliezer would arrive in Aram Naharaim he'd go straight to Avraham's family. After all, it was only a small family with very few (a couple of?) options to choose from (Rivkah,Ma-acha,?) - [Edit: being that 'family' here seems to refer only to descendants of Nachor (see Ramban on Bereshis 23:24- who suggests that for this reason Nachor's lineage from both wives are mentioned in the end of Parshas Vayeira)]

So why did Eliezer have to make the whole sign/prayer?

On the contrary things were more probable to go wrong this way. (See Gemara Taanit 4a)

[PS: This question is related, but certainly different.]

share|improve this question
    
There were probably many many other daughters at each generation whose names aren't mentioned in the pesukim. –  Double AA Nov 8 '12 at 16:48
    
Nachor only got children when he was old (see Mikraot gedolot in end of Parshat Vayeira) so it's unlikely that the family was large –  Danield Nov 8 '12 at 16:52
    
@DoubleAA, sounds like an answer. –  msh210 Nov 8 '12 at 16:52
1  
@MonicaCellio, I guess it depends on how you understand the motivation. Just to avoid Canan's children? Cham's children (he refused Eliezar's daughter for that reason)? Children of Shem only? Or did it have to do with Terach repudiating Avoda Zara later in life? Given Rashi's comment that he was specifically motivated by Rivkah's birth, seems like he was looking for her specifically. –  Yishai Nov 8 '12 at 18:08
1  
@MonicaCellio I edited my question to take your comment into account –  Danield Nov 10 '12 at 19:22

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

The Or Hachaim Bereshis 24:12 answers this question:

Eliezer was worried that once Betuel and family know that Avraham instructed him to find a wife specifically from the family and NOT from Canaan, they would offer one of their Canaanite maid servants as a match - and say that this is their own daughter.

Therefore Eliezer went by his mission/shlichut the way he did, thereby not only finding a match with exceptional character traits (being that she offers to help even more than requested of her) but also: this way when he asks her which family she's from - she would certainly answer truthfully (= 'lefi tuma') being that she wouldn't yet know the reason why he asked about her lineage.

Just for completeness :

Regarding that which the Gemara (Taanit 4a) says that Eliezer asked improperly(= 'Shelo K'Hogen' - since a blind or lame girl (or a Canaanite girl) could have offered water to him and his camels....

The Ibn Ezra Bereshis 24:14 says that he doesn't understand why the Gemara says that Eliezer asked improperly... because if the girl that passed the water test wasn't from Avraham's family - he would have left her, with no harm done.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.