Rabbi David Paskin
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From Rabbi David
This week's Torah portion presents us with the matriarch of kindness, Rebecca.
"A servant ran toward her and said, 'Please, let me sip a little water from your jar.'
'Drink, my lord,' she said, and she quickly lowered her jar upon her head and let him drink. When she had let him drink his fill, she said, 'I will also draw for your camels, until they finish drinking.' Quickly emptying her jar into the trough, she ran back to the well to draw water, and she drew for all his camels." (Genesis 24:17-20)
Rebecca's kindness to the animals is often the focus when teaching this story. However, there is more to chesed (the Hebrew term for lovingkindness) than her actions with the animals.
Kindness first requires that you be considerate, seeing another person, their circumstances, and their need. Rebecca knew that not only the man but also the camels would need water. She also knew that they were too tired to get it themselves, or at least would appreciate the extra effort.
Kindness is under appreciated in our world today. So many of us have lost the capacity to truly see one another and give the kindness we are all so desperately seeking. Modeling and teaching kindness must be at the heart of all of our education from our youngest learners to our eldest. And for those of us who don't see ourselves as students anymore, perhaps we could learn from our children the power of chesed - lovingkindness.