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November 08, 2012 - Image 61

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-11-08

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

>> Torah portion

Whether you have 2, 4, 6 or

even 20 rugs, bring them to us

& we'll clean every other one

Parshat Chayei Sarah: Genesis 23:1-
25 • .18 . , 1 Kings 1:1-31

A

Today, pet obesity has reached almost
ccording to a recent Time
epidemic proportions. This is mostly
magazine study, Americans
the result of owners who "pamper" their
spent approximately $370
pets with too much food. What this
million dollars on pet costumes for
really means is that the owners don't
Halloween this year. In a world where
pampered pets are de rigeur, this custom love the pet, they love themselves and
they feel good when they put out anoth-
may come as no surprise. But the link
er dish of pet food, actually shortening
between pampered pets and our weekly
the lifespan of their "best friend" by an
Torah portion is surprising and instruc-
average of two years.
tive.
When Eliezer saw a girl who
In this week's parshah, we
was so willing to help that she
are introduced to the first
offered to water his camels,
shadchan (matchmaker)
he was concerned that this
ever. Avraham sends out his
girl may feel a need to "do
trusted aide, Eliezer, to find
good" in order to feel good,
a suitable woman for his son
even where it is uncalled for.
Yitzchak. Eliezer, recogniz-
So he waited until the camels
ing that the task of finding
finished. Would she try to
a future matriarch was
keep watering them, in order
immense, devises a litmus
to feed that "do-good" feel-
test to determine the future
Rabbi L
ing inside her, or would she
matriarch of the Jewish
Burnh
understand that the camels
nation, and prays to God
were full and stop, knowing that any
that it works.
more water would harm them?
Eliezer would ask a number of girls
This is what Eliezer was waiting to
for a drink as they drew water from
see. Was this girl's kindness the genuine
the well for their families. The one that
kind of kindness that would fit perfectly
would say, "not only will I give you a
into his master's house, or was it the
drink, but I will also water your cam-
self-serving kindness that often turns
els," would be the one to prove herself
into cruelty, which needs to be kept
worthy of marrying into the house of
far away from a patriarch of the Jewish
kindness established by Avraham, and
people? As soon as he saw that when
continued by his son, Yitzchak.
the camels were finished drinking she
Let's see what happened ...
stopped, he immediately began to give
"He had not yet finished speaking [to
her gifts of jewelry, knowing that she
God] and, behold, Rivkah came out ...
was the proper shidduch (match).
When she had finished giving him to
Kindness doesn't make the world go
drink, she said, "I will also draw water
round, balanced kindness makes the
for your camels, until they will have fin-
world go round!
ished drinking." (Genesis 24:15-19)
Here's the question: Eliezer devised a
Rabbi Leiby Burnham is the director of out-
very specific test and he barely finished
reach for the Weiss Family Partners in Torah
praying to God that it works, when
program of Southfield-based Yeshiva Beth
along comes a girl who seems to fit the
Yehudah.
bill perfectly. She not only gives him
water (when many girls would have told
him to, "Get some water yourself!"),
Conversations
but she also offers to water his thirsty
• What are some other examples
camels. But even after all that, Eliezer
where kindness without limita-
stood there "wondering at her, remained
tions is hurtful?

silent, waiting to determine whether God
had made his mission successful, or not!"
(Genesis 24:21) It seems that only after
she finished watering the camels did he
feel comfortable that she was the right
one, but what took him so long?

• Is there a way for us to know
when kindness is getting out of
control?
• What is your favorite form of
kindness?

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November 8 • 2012

37

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