Chayei Sarah: Chapter 23

"Behold, Rivkah came out"


The Zohar explains that although Rivkah was brought up in an evil town and an evil home, she was protected by her exceptional soul. Rivkah is preparing to marry Isaac. The Torah story shows that a connection existed between Isaac and Rivkah before they were married; this is indicated by her coming out at evening time. Here evening refers to the time of afternoon prayer, and we learn that Isaac was in fact performing his afternoon prayers. The phrase 'came out' also refers to Rivkah's liberation from the house of evil owing to the elevation of her soul.


Man is born into this world with untamed desires and animal instincts. The will of a man's body is given dominion over his soul, so that man can work and strive toward spiritual transformation. The evil setting in which Rivkah was raised symbolizes the physical world and our self-indulgent desires. Each of us can 'come out' of our own 'house of evil' - that is, remove our own self-centered desires - through the energy of Rivkah's soul and the power of the Patriarch Isaac. All this can be gained through a meditative reading of this passage.