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Parashat Chaye Sarah - 5776

My friends,

Last week we read of Abraham's compassion for people as shown in the story of welcoming the three strangers and of the way he pleaded with G-d to spare the people of Sodom.

In this week's Parasha, Chaye Sarah, the life of Sarah, we read of the passing of Sarah, of Abraham's purchase of a cave and field in Hebron which will become the burying place for our patriarchs and matriarchs.

A major section in this week's portion describes the mission given to Eliezer, Abraham's trusted servant, to go to Abraham's birthplace in Mesopotamia and bring back a bride for Isaac, because Abraham was not happy with the Canaanite girls. Eliezer arrives in the city of Nahor and goes to the well, where the local girls gather to fetch water for their homes. There, he asks for G-d's guidance in finding the right girl for Isaac. He says that he will ask a girl to give him a drink from her jar, and that if she should also offer to give water to all his camels, that would be a sign that that is the girl G-d has chosen for Isaac.

You are familiar with the rest of the story. Rebecca, Isaac's cousin, goes down and fetches water from the well. Eliezer approaches her and asks her for a drink from her pitcher. She lets him drink and she also says, "I will also fetch water for your camels." The Torah describes how she makes many trips to the well to fill up the troughs for the camels, until they all had their fill.

Eliezer is certain that God has helped him in his mission. Her family welcomes him and Rebecca agrees to go with the servant to Canaan to become Isaac's wife. Having served in Abraham's house, Eliezer knew that Isaac's future wife must possess, above all, the quality of Chesed, kindness. Rebecca's kindness and caring for a total stranger and for the animals showed him, beyond a doubt, that she would be a perfect addition to Abraham's household and, together with Isaac, would continue Sarah and Abraham's commitment to helping others.

This Parasha reinforces the lesson from last week - that one who is kind and compassionate is definitely a descendant of Abraham.

Shabbat Shalom,

Avram