Parshas Chayei Sarah
A Camel - on the Moon
By Rabbi Label Lam
from his master’s camels… (Breishis 24:10)
…from his master’s camel: They were distinct from other camels.
would go out muzzled because of concern for theft so they would not graze
in the fields of others. (Rashi)
Why is so much ink invested describing the incredible devotion of
Avraham’s servant and even the character of his of his animals? To stare
at the sun is a blinding experience. Therefore, if one wants to get a
sense of the sun’s brightness it might be more advisable to observe the
A colleague of mine Yossi, has been passionately devoted to Jewish
Outreach in Israel for decades. He had for a pet a talking bird. The bird
would imitate many sounds and voices in their home. It would ring like the
telephone and repeat the regular greetings and salutations. One day, while
in the back yard, one of his boys accidentally sprayed water at the bird.
The bird was startled and flew up into a tree. Disoriented, now, the bird
flew away. The family was devastated. Deafening silence now punctuated
their daily chatter.
A year went by and Yossi caved in to his children’s constant pleas and he
paid a handsome sum to acquire another talking bird, At work that day he
shared the news of his new purchase. He was told that at one of the homes
in which classes were held there was a talking bird that chimed in
humorously and poignantly during the lectures. Yossi called the host to
talk hobby-shop. Yossi told him how he had lost his bird a year ago and
how his bird had been missing one of three toes on the right foot. There
was uncomfortable silence on the other side. The dialogue ended abruptly
A day later Yossi received a call from this fellow, “Yossi, I think I have
your bird!” Yossi went to his house and confirmed that it was his bird in
fact. The man apologized for not telling him right away. He explained that
he had an emotional resistance to doing the right thing. He went on to
tell that the bird was found on a soccer field. Someone took note that
this was no usual bird. They took it to him because he was known to deal
with animals. He fed the dehydrated bird with an eye dropper and then it
sat up and said, “Boruch HASHEM!” and other such expressions. The man and
his wife were spooked. “Was this some kind of heavenly messenger? The bird
talks about G-d, while we live our lives in a spiritual vacuum?” They
decided to go to a class and later a seminar. Their whole life changed and
later they opened their home to classes and many others were impacted too.
The man confessed, “I hesitated because that bird saved my life!” Wow!
Truth is stranger than fiction and more organized as well.
Here are three potential lessons. 1) Watch what you say at home! Words
travel farther than we might think! 2) As for those who reach out and
teach others, claim not success for yourself. Even a bird can do your job.
3) Reb Tzadok explained that when one loves HASHEM with all his might or
possessions as our sages say, that even his animals, like the donkey of
Pinchas Ben Yair that would not eat non-tithed food, are capable of
similar nobility. The brightness of Avraham’s personality may best be seen
reflecting on a camel - on the moon.
Text Copyright © 2005 by Rabbi Label Lam and Torah.org.