Friday, March 23, 2007

Beautiful Torah....

I heard an amazing piece of Torah the other night, and I just have to share it:
Way back in sefer Bereishis, we know of the story where Reuven, the son of Leah, brought his mother dudaim. Rochel Imeinu approached Leah, and asked her for some of the dudaim that Reuven had brought her, to which Leah replies rather sharply: "it's not enough that you stole my husband, now you must take my gifts as well?" End of story.
Let's take a second here. Obviously, we don't understand the stories of the chumash completely, nor can we fathom the level our forefathers were on. Still, one might ask, "what kind of chutzpah does Leah have!?" Rachel stole her husband? Rachel gave her the simanim in order that Leah should be able to marry Yakov, and be saved from embarassment from being discovered, and Leah is accusing Rachel of stealing her spouse? What's going on here?
Now, let's go away from there for a second. We learn that there are three levels of chesed that one can do. I'll give you an example for all three.
1) I'm driving northbound, and I see a jew headed in the same direction hitchiking. I stop and pick him up, and give him a ride, free of charge. We'd all agree that this is a chesed, right?
2) I'm headed north, and I see a jew headed south, hitchiking. I flip around and take him out of my way, free of charge. Wouldn't you say that's a bigger chesed?
3) Same situation as chesed number two, only that when the hitcher gets in my car, what I say is: "Great! It's so good that I saw you! I was supposed to get something for my wife from the southside of town, and I completely forgot. If I hadn't seen you, I would have gone all the way home, realized that I forgot, gotten the riot act from my wife, and then I would have had to shlep across town again! Thanks for reminding me!" What happens is that the hitchiker doesn't even think that his driver is doing him a favor; in fact, he feels like he did the driver a favor! Now I think that this is obviously the highest of the three examples, don't you?
Getting back to our original question, what we see is that what Rachel probably did, in her greatness,was not make Leah feel indebted to her for the favor, but rather made it seem as if Leah was the one doing her a favor! And after all those years, Leah couldn't understand why Rachel stole her husband, etc.
We learn from here an invaluable lesson in life and judaism in regard to acts of kindness. If possible, you should make it seem as if you are not the one who's doing the favor but the other one is. It's a lesson we should all keep, and we should all merit to apply. Peace.
Originally posted Thursday, 2 June 2005

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