Jewish Soul Journey

JEWELRY AND THE JEWISH WOMAN’S ROLE – PARSHAS CHAI SARAH

            Over the past several decades the roles of
both men and women in contemporary society have shifted dramatically leaving both
genders in the midst of  an identity crisis
that simply did not exist in earlier generations. So many people today
unfortunately caught up in this generational “tug of war”, are finding it more
and more difficult to understand and appreciate their purpose and position in
this world.   

The Torah provides for us in this weeks Parsha
Chayei Sarah an invaluable insight within the story of the (shiduk) engagement  between Yitzchak Avinu and his wife to be,
Rivka.  It came to pass that our forefather
Avraham Aveinu sent his servant  Eliezer
to Avraham’s relatives seeking a wife for Yitzchak.   Hashem 
guided  Eliezer and  gave him the opportunity to observe Rivka’s
extraordinary (midos) character and good deeds (ma’asim tovim) through her altruistic
act of chesed. It was her very selfless act of kindness that allowed  Eliezer to understand that he had found that
unique neshama who would be the appropriate bride for Yitzchak. In anticipation
of this eventuality, Avraham had sent with him special gifts for the kallah and
her family to consummate this stage of the(shiduk) marriage proposal.     

The gifts given over to Rivka were a golden ring called
a nezem, and two arm bracelets (
Chayei 
Sarah, 24:22.), therefore there is to endeavor to deepen our
understanding of the profound symbolism that lies within these gifts.    Since our Torah is an eternal document for all
times and all places, these pieces of jewelry are as much a gift for the Jewish
woman of today, as they were for Rivka (Imainu) our matriarch in that they are
capable of offering insights that can help to rejuvenate and revitalize each
women’s connection with her proper role even in the midst of  our spiritually troubled and discordant times.

The words and actions of  righteous Jewish woman emanate from the neshama,
the soul which is rooted in a very pristine place deep within.   Is it then any wonder that the gift for
Rivka was a – nezem – a ring which was used in the place which is the gateway
for the entry of the soul – the place where the Creator breathed the soul of  life into Adam  (Bereishes 2:7).

Our Holy Torah, through this parsha, takes this
opportunity to realign material and spiritual values thereby closing the gap
between them, teaching each women the secret of seamlessly blending within
herself a life of holiness that incorporates softness and strength, kindness
and discipline, generosity and restraint. It is authority that is most
effectively expressed in the absence of overt power – by innuendo rather than
by confrontation.  For all its subtlety
don’t think for a moment that it lacks purpose, direction or strength.  It is the antibiotic camouflaged in the
spoonful of ice cream.  It is pure
empathetic compassion, objectified, tempered by practicality, seasoned by good
judgment and used for the purpose of  nurturing
and healing those  souls given over to
her care.

 This ring has
within it a further message that connects the past with the present in that it had
the weight of a (beka) a half –shekel– and that too is significant.   Each Jew was required to give a half shekel
gift,  a one time gift for the building
of the  Mishkan as well as a yearly
donation of this amount to be used for the communal sacrifices. (Ki Sisa: 30:13;
Shekalim, 1:1; Megillah 29b).

The gift of the half shekel was one that every Jew
was required to contribute toward the building of the Mishkan, the Tabernacle.  It  was
dedicated to the adonim — the silver sockets that held the boards which formed
the walls of the Mishkan.   These sockets
are the foundation of the walls of Mishkan, where we made our home with
Hashem, even as the woman  is the foundation
of the home she establishes with her husband.     

  Eliezer
also gave Rivka two arm bracelets weighing ten golden shekels.  The two arm bracelets represent the two
tablets of the law; and their weight of ten shekels symbolizes the Ten
Commandments. (Chaya Sara, 24:22, Rashi). 
The ring and the golden bracelets are both, being circular, suggestive
of  the fact each woman is able to
complete the connection of the Torah with this world through becoming a conduit
using her unique energy that is provided by her holy soul and binding it with
the performance of good deeds and acts of 
kindness. Through these works of (chesed) kindness every woman is able
to greatly rectify this world as a emissary of Hashem through her home and
hearth thereby allowing a holy dwelling place for the (Shekina) Divine presence.

 

 

All articles appearing on this blog are copyrighted by Rabbi Yehoshua Binyamin Falk. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to share/download/copy this information as long as it is accompanied by the copyright. Separately authored/copyrighted materia

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