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Parashat Chaye Sarah - 5778

Dear friends,

In Parashat Chaye Sarah, we learn of the death of our Matriarch Sarah at the age of 127 and of Abraham's efforts to purchase a burial site for her. He purchases The Cave of Machpelah in the city of Hebron, for which he pays a full price. It is also known as Kiryat Arba, the District of the Four, where four famous couples are buried: Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah.

By the way, although the Torah gives us all the details regarding how this place was purchased and became the burial place for our founding parents, UNESCO - continuing with its long-standing record of anti-Israel votes - declared this burial place as a Palestinian Heritage site.

Following this story the Torah describes how Abraham calls his loyal servant Eliezer and sends him on a mission to Mesopotamia to find a wife for Isaac. You probably know this beautiful story. Eliezer arrives at Aram Naharaim and stops by the well where women come to draw water. He recites this prayer:

"O L-rd, G-d of my master Abraham, grant me good fortune this day, and deal graciously with my master Abraham. Here I stand by the spring as the daughters of the townsmen come out to draw water. 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." (Genesis 24:12-14)

The Torah says that, before he even finished his prayer, Rebecca - who is from Abraham's family - comes down with her jar on her shoulder. We know the rest of the story. Things happen exactly as he had wished - she lets him drink and she spends much time running back and forth between the well and the trough filling it up with water for the 10 camels. Wouldn't it be nice if our prayers were always answered as were Eliezer's prayer?

What was so special about Eliezer that his prayer, as the Torah states, was answered so quickly? Our sages teach us: "If you want your prayer to be accepted, pray for someone else." It would seem that Eliezer pleaded with G-d with all his heart to show kindness to Abraham by helping him in this mission. Eliezer, the Midrash says, was hoping that, someday, his own daughter would be the one to marry Isaac. After all, he was the chief of staff to Abraham and knew his family well. He was an insider. But Abraham insisted that Isaac's wife must be from his own birthplace. Eliezer's prayer was altruistic, thinking more of his master than his own needs.

Everyone of us is aware of friends and family members who are in need of healing and G-d's blessings. If you have reached a level where you have G-d's attention, don't be selfish - pray for someone else in need. Your needs will also be answered.

Shabbat Shalom,

Avram