Rabbi Nachman Kahana
Rabbi Nachman KahanaCourtesy

Parshiot Bereishiet and Noach 5782

Thoughts on the world today, 5782 years from the time humans (Adam, Chava, Cain and Abel) appeared and began destroying the beautiful world that Hashem had created.

As we pondered the various aspects of Hashem’s created world, physicists arrived at the conclusion that all material entities in this created universe have a common basic characteristic: entropy. Meaning: a measure of disorder is in all aspects of our daily lives, and if left unchecked, disorder increases, and the entity eventually devolves into chaos. Aging systems go spontaneously from youthful, low entropy and order to old, high entropy and disorder.

In other words, nothing lasts forever in the physical world.

I will return to this later.

What was the rushing and running about?

In another four weeks, in parashat Chayei Sarah, Avraham Avinu sends his servant, Eliezer of Damascus, on a vital mission to find a suitable wife for his son Yitzchak; thus entrusting Eliezer with the future of Klal Yisrael.

Towards evening, Eliezer arrives in record time at Avraham’s birthplace, Ur Kasdim, setting his caravan to rest by the town’s well close to sundown (sh’ki’ah), as the pasuk states (24,11):

He had the camels kneel down near the well outside the town; it was toward evening, the time the women would go out to draw water.

He then turns to Hashem with a request (24:12): "…show kindness to my master Avraham" and bring forth a suitable wife for Yitzchak.

Verse 15 begins:

"And it came to pass, that before he (Eliezer) had done speaking, Rivka approached…"

The Torah points out that before Eliezer concluded his prayer, the selection had already been made.

Verse 17:

And the servant ran to meet her, and said: 'Give me to drink, I pray thee, a little water of thy pitcher.'

Eliezer runs to meet her. He did not walk politely, as befitting one who is approaching a young girl for the first time. He runs towards her.

Verse 18:

And she said: 'Drink, my lord'; and she hastened, and let down her pitcher upon her hand, and gave him drink.

We are informed that Rivka "…hastened to put down her pitcher" and to pour out water for the ‘parched’ Eliezer.

In verse 20, Rivka is once again hurrying:

"And she hastened and emptied her pitcher into the trough"

and then, "…and she ran again into the well to draw (water)"

In all, Rivka is described as running three times and Eliezer once!

What’s happening? What we are witnessing here can only be described as the "theater of the absurd”, with Rivka unnecessarily rushing and running in double time to provide water for Eliezer’s entourage.

But, in fact, there is nothing absurd in Rivka’s seemingly unlady-like rushing. It was the necessary result of Eliezer’s premeditated and deliberate attempt to sabotage his mission.

Eliezer had an agenda.

On the one hand, as the loyal servant of Avraham, he had to fulfill the mission of finding a suitable wife for Yitzchak. On the other, Eliezer had a daughter whom he very much wanted Yitzchak to marry. Eliezer had to reconcile these two seemingly incompatible choices.

In order to make them compatible, Eliezer concluded that he would make an honest attempt to find a wife; and if it failed, he would be in an honest position to offer his daughter to Avraham as a wife for Yitzchak.

Let us return to verse 11 where we are informed that Eliezer arrives at the city:

"…at the time towards evening, when the women come out to draw water."

It is not yet night, because no one comes out to "draw water" in the darkness. Yet, it is not afternoon, which is too early to draw water for the evening meal. Eliezer arrives a bit before the she’ki’a – sundown - when there is still some daylight, but nightfall is quickly descending.

In verse 12, Eliezer says:

"Oh Lord, the God of my master Avraham, may you so arrange it for me this day, that You do kindness with my master Avraham."

Eliezer is not just asking for a kind, young lady, of whom there must have been more than one in the entire city. He is conditioning it on happening "on this day”," when "this day" is about to end, with the arrival of she’ki’a.

Eliezer is putting God "to the test”, to resolve everything in just a few minutes. If night descends and the "basherteh" (soulmate) is not found, then Eliezer’s mission will have been executed honestly but unsuccessfully, and his daughter would be transformed into a suitable candidate as Yitzchak’s wife.

However, since Hashem knows the inner workings of every mind, He has Rivka running three times in her need to bring drink to the entire caravan, finishing with barely a few moments to spare before the end of day.

There was very little time left in Eliezer’s challenge to Hashem, so Hashem brought to bear on the parties involved to quickly bring the matter to a resolution in the short time left until nightfall.

Rushing in our day

In our own time, we see the unrelenting, ardent acceleration of every factor in our lives: medical research, technology, physiology, surgery, astronomy, what not!

What 20 years ago took weeks and even months to complete is accomplished now in a day or even several minutes by computer, cellular phone, or fax machine. One need not travel to distant continents to meet with clients when body language and decisions can be seen and reached by Zoom.

Why just now?

King David in Tehillim 90:4 states:

A thousand (of our) years are in Your eyes as one passing day.

The Gemara (Sanhedrin 97a) quotes several rabbis regarding the end date of our planet and society as we know it, with all agreeing that it will last for 6000 years and then will be desolate for 1000 or 2000 more.

Accordingly, the world will last 6000 of our years corresponding to 6 of Hashem’s days corresponding to the six days of creation.

Now, 1000 of our years equal one day of Hashem, and a day is divided into 24 hours. So how many of our years make up one hour in Hashem’s day? Simple: divide our 1000 years by 24, which equals 41.6 years, hence 41.6 of our years make up one hour in Hashem’s day.

Let’s continue.

The age of the world in now 5782 years, leaving 218 more years to reach the year 6000 when the curtain will come down on this world, as stated in the Gemara Sanhedrin above.

And 218 of our years divided by 41.6 (Hashem’s hour) is equal to 5.23 hours to Hashem. This places us now in erev Shabbat (Friday) of Hashem at about 12:30PM when Shabbat will come in at 6 PM.

All combined, Hashem has 5.23 hours remaining to complete His original plans for the Jewish people and for the world. This entails the coming of the Mashiach; restoration of the Bet Hamikdash; techiat hamaytim (resurrection); return and control to the Jewish nation of all the lands promised us by Hashem, as stated in the Torah, spanning almost the entire Middle East; return of hundreds of millions of descendants of the ten exiled tribes; return of the Anusim (Jews who were forced into Christ-insanity in Spain and Portugal) and the international war with Gog King of Magog - all this in 218 of our years.

So just like Eliezer and Rivka who had to complete their missions in a few short minutes before the she’ki’a, Hashem will bring about all these human experiences in the short 5.23 hours left in His world before the year six thousand brings down the curtain as originally decided by the Creator.

A pleasant thought for Shabbat

Hashem granted us human beings three luxury gifts to make our stay here a little more pleasant: music, flowers and a smile.

Rabbi Nachman Kahana is a Torah scholar, author, teacher and lecturer, Founder and Director of the Center for Kohanim, Co-founder of the Temple Institute, Co-founder of Atara Leyoshna – Ateret Kohanim, was rabbi of Chazon Yechezkel Synagogue – Young Israel of the Old City of Jerusalem for 32 years, and is the author of the 15-volume “Mei Menuchot” series on Tosefot, and 3-volume “With All Your Might: The Torah of Eretz Yisrael in the Weekly Parashah” (2009-2011), and “Reflections from Yerushalayim: Thoughts on the Torah, the Land and the Nation of Israel” (2019) as well as weekly parasha commentary available where he blogs at http://NachmanKahana.com