A Shabbat Nugget: Parashat Chayei Sara

We are living in an age in which technology has had an extraordinary impact on making our lives physically easier.   Today you can even buy products, pay for products and receive endless information with a click on your phone.  However, this week’s Torah portion teaches us that when it comes to a Mitzvah (Commandment and Good Deed), it is better to toil and exert ourselves for the mitzvah since then we will internalize and receive the full experience of the Mitzvah.

The Torah tells us how Abraham sends his trusted servant Eliezer to the city of Charan to find a wife for his son Issac.  When Eliezer comes to the outskirts of the city, where there is a well, he prays to G-d and says:  “When the townspeople come to draw water, I am going to ask a maiden for some water, if she replies drink and I will also fetch your water for your camels, please let that maiden be the appropriate wife for Issac.”  Sure enough Rebecca, who was very beautiful, comes to the well. After she draws water,  Eliezer runs over and asks her for some water.  She replies: “Here is some water and I am going to draw more water for your camels.” At the end, she ends up being a most appropriate wife for Issac.

The commentaries tell us that a careful reading of the text indicates that when Rebecca filled the water originally for herself, a miracle occurred and the water level rose making it easier for her to fill her pitcher. However, when she went back to fill her pitcher for Eliezer’s camels, the waters did not rise for her.

Why the difference?

Since the first time she was filling the water for herself and since she was pious, a miracle occurred for her. However, the second time, when she was filling the water, she was doing a Mitzvah and in order to do a mitzvah properly, one has to exert themselves  and therefore a miracle that would make it easier to draw the water, would not have been in appropriate.

About Rabbi Pesach Scheiner

Rabbi Pesach Scheiner is the Rabbi of Boulder County Center for Judaism. In addition, he teaches extensively throughout Boulder County and is the author of "Finding the Joy in Everyday Living," a book of short chapters explaining the ways to access happiness through appreciation, gratitude, and a sense of purpose.

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