Then he prayed, “LORD, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today, and show kindness to my master Abraham.” — Genesis 24:12
The Torah portion for this week, Chayei Sarah, which means “the life of Sarah,” is from Genesis 23:1—25:18 and the Haftorah is from 1 Kings 1:1–31.
In this week’s Torah portion, Abraham’s servant, whom the Jewish sages identify as Eliezer from Genesis 15, was given a very daunting task. He was asked to find a wife for Isaac – a woman who would be suitable both as Isaac’s wife and as a matriarch for Abraham’s descendants. Not only that, but the woman had to be Abraham’s relative and agree to leave her own family and live in Canaan. How would Eliezer succeed? It was like finding a needle in a haystack!
I love Eliezer’s response to this challenge. He simply turned to God and prayed, “LORD, God of my master Abraham, make me successful today . . .” This is the first time in the Bible that we see an individual ask God for help outright. Sure, Adam, Noah, and Abraham all had faith in God and placed their trust in Him, but this is the clearest example of a human being asking for God’s assistance.
And God answered in abundance. “Before he had finished praying, Rebekah came out with her jar on her shoulder.” (Genesis 24:15). Out walked Rebekah – she was beautiful, kind, and met all Abraham’s criteria. God had indeed made Eliezer successful.
Never underestimate the power of asking God for help. When the challenge looks daunting, ask for help. When it feels like the walls are closing in around you, ask for help. When you feel overwhelmed, outnumbered, and out of luck, ask God for help.
This is what happened when King Jehoshaphat of Judah was told that the armies of three enemy nations were quickly approaching. Jehoshaphat realized that he didn’t stand a chance against his enemies. In a much more elaborate and lengthy prayer than Eliezer’s, he essentially prayed the same thing: For God to make him successful. He ended his prayer saying, “For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (2 Chronicles 20:12).
God answered Jehoshaphat in abundance as well. The next day, God caused the enemy armies to fight against each other. By the time the Israelites reached them, all their enemies were dead. Not only that, but the ground was laden with spoils, so much so that it took the Israelites three whole days to collect everything!
Friends, in everything we do, we must remember to ask God to make us successful. It’s so simple that it is easily overlooked or forgotten. On the way to work each day, say, “Lord, make me successful today.” As we care for our children, say, “Lord, make me successful today.” At the grocery store, say, “Lord make me successful today.” As we ask, we shall receive.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President