Kinder Torah - Parshat Vayera
For parents to share with
children at the Shabbos Table
Parshat Chayei Sarah
What Did You Accomplish Today?
"And Avraham was old, he came with his days, and Hashem blessed Avraham with everything" (Bereshis 24:1). Where did Avraham come to, and how can you come with days? Once a day passes, it is gone. You cannot bring days with you. The Nesivos Shalom zt"l explains this verse as follows. Hashem put us into this world to grow and develop. He helps us each and every day by giving us something to accomplish. Each person's task for the day is totally unique to him. No one else can do what he must do. We grow by meeting these daily challenges. At the end of our lives after 120 years, Hashem evaluates our days. Those days that we have grown by performing the mitzvos set before us, accompany us into the world to come. Those days come with us.
What did you accomplish today? Which challenge did Hashem set before you? Did you make shalom with your brother? Did you listen to Imma when you wanted to do something else? Did you daven (pray) with kavannah (concentration)? Did you learn Torah with all of your koach (abilities)? If you passed your tests for the day, then you have done Hashem's will and grown from it. You have put that day into your "spiritual savings account". That bank account will make you a wealthy person. Just keep making big deposits.
Before ... During ... After
Eliezer, the servant of Avraham Avinu had a mission to accomplish: to find a wife for Yitzchak. How did he begin this mission? He made a request from Hashem. "Let it be the maiden to whom I shall say, 'Please tip over your jug so I may drink,' and who replies, 'Drink and I will even water your camels.' You will have designated her for your servant, for Yitzchak. May I know through her that you have done kindness with my master.'" (Bereshis 24:14). Immediately after he finished speaking with Hashem, Rivkah appeared and showed that she was the one worthy to marry Yitzchak. What did Eliezer do next? "He bowed down to Hashem. He said, 'Boruch Hashem the G-d of my master Avraham, Who has not withheld His kindness and truth from my master.'" (Bereshis 24:26-27).
Rav Shimshon Pincus, Shlita, writes in his sefer Shearim Bi'Tefillah, that everything comes to us as a result of tefillah (prayer). It is impossible to receive anything in life without first requesting it from Hashem. We see that Eliezer's first preparation for his mission was to request success from Hashem. After he succeeded, his first action was to thank Hashem. He was the One Who brought him success.
In our lives we always have challenges before us, and accomplishments behind us. What is our first step toward meeting those challenges? To pray to Hashem and ask Him for success. As we said before, He placed the challenge before us, and He is the only One who can help us succeed. What is our first order of business after an accomplishment? "Boruch Hashem! Thank you Hashem!" We should say this after even the smallest accomplishments. In this way, we will constantly feel Hashem's presence. We will realize that He is with us all of the time. Before, during, and after every event in our lives.
Who's In Charge Here?
"He ruled over all that was his" (Bereshis 24:2). This verse is referring to Eliezer, Avraham Avinu's senior servant, who was entrusted with running his entire household. Avraham sent him to find a wife for Yitzchak. Perhaps someone would try to bribe Eliezer to accept an unsuitable woman as a wife. Avraham was not concerned. Eliezer was so trustworthy, that he surely would not take a bribe for an unsuitable woman. The Keli Yakar explains that Eliezer also ruled over all of his own possessions. Sometimes a person's belongings can rule over him. They take so much time and care, that the person is not free to pursue important things. Worse than that, one can get caught up in acquiring things. The desire for money can overtake him. There is no end to this, and he will have time for nothing. Eliezer ruled over his property, it did not rule over him. He kept it in perspective. He was happy with his lot. He had no desire for money that was not his. Therefore, he was not subject to bribery.
Possessions can help you or hurt you. It depends upon how you use them. You should only ask for what you need. More is not better. As the Mishna says (Pirkei Avos 2:8), "More property means more worries." Only use what you need and only use it when you need it. Modern technology can be a great tool. However, it can also eat up lots of time and ruin your peace of mind. You must control it, and not let it control you. Be like Eliezer. Rule your things. Do not let them rule you.
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