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[Dvar Torah] Chayei Sarah

In this week's parsha, Chayei Sarah, Avraham buys a burial plot for his late wife Sarah, and there is the long and detailed story of Abraham's servant, Eliezer going on a journey to find a wife for Avraham’s son Isaac. Eventually, Eliezer finds a suitable wife who comes from afar. Later in the parsha Abraham passes away. 

The majority of this parsha focuses on the mentioned-above journey of Eliezer, the servant of Avraham, finding a wife for Isaac. The story starts with Avraham calling Eliezer to find a wife NOT from the people of Canaan, where they currently live. Avraham sees the Canaanites as immoral people. And so, Eliezer is sent to Charan but Avraham does not specify who this wife should be. Eliezer arrives in Charan and waits by the well, where many people of the town pass by to draw water.  Afraid to fail his master, Eliezer prays to G-d to give him a sign when he comes across a girl who is fit for Isaac:

“...let the maiden to whom I say, ‘Please, lower your jar that I may drink,’ and who replies, ‘Drink, and I will also water your camels’—let her be the one whom You have decreed for Your servant Isaac. Thereby shall I know that You have dealt graciously with my master.”  Bereshit 24:14

In other words, Eliezer will ask for help to draw water for him, and the girl who not only complies, but will also offer water to his camels, will be the one destined for Isaac. Just to give us an idea of what this means - camels can drink up to 200 liters in one go. Eliezer had 10 camels. Watering these 10 beasts was no simple thing.

So why did Eliezer ask for this specific sign? Rashi explains: 

“She is fit for him since she will be charitable and will therefore be worthy of admission into the house of Abraham.” 

This sign was a symbol of genuine kindness. Avraham is forming a new nation that is supposed to represent G-d on this earth. People who show kindness are true ambassadors of G-d. Eventually Eliezer meets Rivkah who tends to both Eliezer and his ten camels, thus being the suitable wife to continue the Jewish nation. Rivkah is later also found to be a relative of Avraham’s.

Avraham, the first forefather and founder of the Jewish nation, who in the previous Parashas exhibited outstanding kindness, was looking for similar genuine kindness expressed even when faced with adversity. To have hope in humanity even when it may seem like a cruel world - these are the principles Avraham lived by. Rivkah was therefore deemed worthy to pass down Avraham's legacy to the next generation through Yitzhak. 

The message is clear - what should we be looking for in a friend, in a spouse? Kindness, above all else, is what matters most. That is also what we need to develop in ourselves. Whether it be in school or at home, let's all set an example to be kind and do the right thing. Notice the small gestures of kindness people make and surround yourself with people who will uplift you and everyone around you. Let's set the example for others to follow, and pass it down and around for generations to come. 

Shabbat Shalom,

Alex, Grade 10