Parshat Chayei Sarah: The value of patience

Dylan Brown
Dylan Brown (Photo by Richard Brown)

By Dylan Brown

This week we are reading Chayei Sarah. This parshah is about how Sarah dies and Isaac needs to find a wife and continue on with the family’s name.

Eliezer, Abraham’s servant, travels to where Abraham is from to seek out a wife for Isaac. Eliezer arrives at the village where Abraham’s family lives and waits at the well. He asks G-d to give him a sign when the right woman comes. The sign was that Eliezer would ask the woman, “Please, lower your jar that I may drink.” and the woman would say, “Drink, and I will also water your camels.” Sure enough, Eliezer sees Rebekah go to the well, and he runs over and asks, “Please, let me sip a little water from your jar.” Rebekah responds with “Drink, my lord,” and then says, “I will also draw for your camels, until they finish drinking.” At that moment Eliezer knew she would be perfect for Isaac. Rebekah and her family agree that the two should get married, and she returns to Canaan with Eliezer.

Patience is a theme in this passage because Isaac is at home and must wait for Eliezer to find him the right wife. Similarly, while waiting at the well, Eliezer must be patient to find a wife for Isaac who demonstrates kindness.

Patience, or savlanut in Hebrew, is an important Jewish value. Savlanut is not just about being patient, but about having the right attitude while you wait. When you are in a troubled moment, you shouldn’t be impatient for G-d to help you, you should be calm and trust in G-d.

According to Rabbi Yitzhak Miller, the wonderful thing about the Jewish value of patience is that savlanut also allows us for the possibility that something better than what you thought would happen could happen. Abraham asks Eliezer to find a wife for Isaac in Abraham’s family, so Eliezer was patient and he found a very beautiful wife who was also a part of Abraham’s family and a woman of extraordinary kindness. Because Eliezer was patient he found an even better wife for Isaac than Abraham asked for.

Dylan Brown is a seventh grader at Krieger Schechter Day School.

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