Cantor Eyal Bitton shares a few thoughts on prayer and the parasha of the week.

Endless Love

2023-11-11 Parashat Chayei Sarah

One of my favorite pop ballads is an exquisite duet written by the great Lionel Richie, “Endless Love”, which he sang with Diana Ross in 1981. In his iconic ballad, Lionel writes:

My love, there’s only you in my life
The only thing that’s right
My first love, you’re every breath that I take
You’re every step I make
And I want to share all my love with you
No one else will do
And your eyes, they tell me how much you care
You will always be my endless love

This timeless declaration of love finds its resonance in the enduring relationship between the Biblical Isaac and Rebecca, as depicted in Parashat Chayei Sarah. Within this Torah portion, not only do we commemorate the passing of Sarah, the beloved wife of Abraham, but we also bear witness to the union of Isaac and Rebecca.

In the midst of grief and mourning, Abraham sends his trusted servant to find a suitable wife for his son, Isaac. The encounter at the well between the servant and Rebecca becomes a poignant symbol of the eternal bond formed between Isaac and Rebecca. This Biblical love story imparts invaluable lessons on loyalty, devotion, and partnership, offering a blueprint for building a successful and meaningful marriage.

The union of Isaac and Rebecca is defined by profound devotion. Throughout their journey together, they demonstrate a selfless and enduring commitment to each other’s well-being. Beyond mere fulfillment of marital obligations, their love thrives through acts of kindness and thoughtfulness, serving as a timeless reminder that love grows stronger with each act of affection.

Central to their story is the essence of a true partnership. Isaac and Rebecca exemplify the equitable and respectful foundation upon which a marriage should be built. Both actively contribute to their relationship, making decisions together and supporting each other’s dreams and aspirations.

Their example becomes a guiding light, emphasizing the importance of valuing each other’s perspectives and fostering a sense of equality in marriage.

The concept of eternal love finds expression in Jewish liturgy through the “Sheva Brachot” (Seven Blessings) recited during wedding ceremonies. These blessings celebrate the divine intention for joy and love between the bride and groom. The union of Isaac and Rebecca, divinely orchestrated, echoes the sacredness and enduring commitment celebrated in these blessings.

The love story of Isaac and Rebecca in Parashat Chayei Sarah stands as a timeless testament to the eternity of love in Jewish tradition. Their unwavering loyalty, deep devotion, and balanced partnership serve as enduring examples for couples today. As we draw inspiration from their love story, we recognize that the journey of love and commitment is one worth cherishing and preserving for all time. Just as Lionel Richie’s “Endless Love” beautifully captures the essence of boundless affection, the love shared between Isaac and Rebecca remains an everlasting beacon of hope for all who seek lasting love and companionship.