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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. They 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 moon. Huh!?

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.


 


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