Shaya Cohen -


Identity vs Actions

When Rivkah introduces herself to Avraham’s servant, the text contains a very strange artifact, which I highlight:

And she said unto him: ‘I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, whom she bore unto Nahor.’ And she said unto him: ‘We have both straw and provender enough, and room to lodge in.’ (Gen. 24:24-5)

Why does the Torah repeat the phrase “And she said unto him”? I think the answer is that Rivkah herself is making a distinction. She first identifies who she is by her lineage. But her actions are not determined by her background. There is a clear and important break between who we are, and what we do.

So Rivkah identifies who she is. And then she separately (and subtly) separates the two. Regardless of her birth and her upbringing, she chooses to invite the guest into their home. We can choose to not be defined by our past: we are defined by our choices.

Comments are welcome!

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