Chaye Sarah – Genesis 23:1 – 25:18 – The Parashat Ha Shavua for Shabbat, Saturday, November 23, 2019
We live in a society that puts a premium on beauty. Attractive people are everywhere, on magazine covers, on television, in movies and in advertisements. Judaism doesn’t dismiss beauty, but it values something more, as we learn in this week’s Torah portion.
Abraham’s servant, Eliezer, goes out to find a wife for Isaac. In Abraham’s homeland of Paran, he waits by a well. Eliezer has an interview process in mind. He will select the maiden who offers him water and also water for his animals.
Commenting on this text, Rashi (12th Century, Germany) writes, “She is fit for him since she will be charitable and will therefore be worthy of admission into the house of Abraham.” Sure enough Rebekeh appears. Our Torah writes, “The maiden was very beautiful,” (Genesis 24:16). Then Rebekah says, “Drink, my lord,” she said, and she quickly lowered her jar upon her hand 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.” (Genesis 24:18-19)
In this way our Torah teaches that beauty draws our attention, but character, kindness, compassion and empathy are the qualities that make a relationship last. Inner beauty is what really matters and transcends time.