Eliezer the servant of Avraham is described as “dole’ umashkeh” (TB Yoma 28b), which literally means one who draws (water) and gives (others) to drink. He was able to disseminate the Torah ideas that Avraham expressed.
Rav Gedalia Schorr explains why this is different from the standard student who perpetuates his Rebbe’s divrei Torah, and thought process. A person might be brilliant, yet it is quite likely that ordinary people will not be able to access his brilliance. In these situations, we understand that a disciple is necessary, as a conduit to glean an understanding of the greatness of the teacher’s thoughts. Sometimes the teacher seems to be quite ordinary and the novice might not even take notice of the profoundness of what is being taught.
I heard a story, told by a long-time talmid of the Chofetz Chaim, that one year in Radin there was a famed chasidishe Rebbe who was there for Sukkos without a lulav and esrog. He asked the Chofetz Chaim if he could make a brocho on the Chofetz Chaim’s lulav and esrog. The Chofetz Chaim responded “I will happily let you do this. Just please let me make a brocho first.” The onlooker watched as the Chofetz Chaim made a brocho unceremoniously. Afterwards the Rebbe made a brocho with what appeared to be an amazing amount of kavana and verve. The onlooker pondered to himself “If I would not know better I would think that this Rebbe is the “gadol hador” and the Chofetz Chaim is just a simple Jew.” Not to diminish the kavana of the Rebbe, but sometimes greatness lies in its simplicity – the Chofetz Chaim was able to hide his greatness and look like a simple Jew. For those situations, it is necessary to have a talent of a special talmid who can show us the hidden greatness of the exceptional tzaddik. This was the work of Eliezer: To take from the Torah of Avraham, which seemed almost insignificant and expound on it for the masses, in a way that they could appreciate it. This explains the words “Dole’” – to extract and “U’mashkeh” – disseminate.
When we learn the gemora and then we look at the commentaries we see reams and reams of Torah thought coming out of a few simple words of the gemora. The same is true when you look at a seemingly simple pasuk in chumash with Rashi: We think that we have a clear understanding of what was going on, but then we open a mikras gedolas chumash and find an array of different ideas explaining the same few words. This is the aspect of dole’ umashkeh. The Torah is given in a discreet way, yet is full of deep meaning. The scoffers of Yiddishkeit say to themselves with scorn “It can’t be that all this commentary was intended in the original words.” We, on the other hand, who have a mesorah are able to be dole’ umashkeh, and even put these ideas back into the original text. Those who are missing this mesorah are indeed crippled from understanding the true beauty of the Torah.
We find Eliezer bowing to Hashem many times in the parsha; every time he did something there was a special prayer and an act of subservience. Where did he get this from? We didn’t see that Avraham did this. The answer is given that on a subline level Avraham did this too. You just need that special student – the dole’ umashkeh – to bring it out for us to see. With this we can understand those words in Chazal which have baffled many (quoted by Rashi this week 24:42): “The chatter of the servants of the patriarchs is more important than the extrapolations of the later generations.” We can understand this to mean that the servants of the Avos were able to see things clearly and we in the later generations could only come to them through intellectual pursuits.
May we merit to have teachers that emulate the Torah in a way that makes us see a deeper meaning in the Torah.