The Bronze Age Singles Scene
Chayei Sarah (Genesis 23:1-25:18)
Where should one go when searching for a spouse? Some singles go out to the bar for drinking and dancing and, perhaps, romancing, or so I am led to believe from movies and TV. In Biblical times the local watering hole was literally that: the communal well. And it is to there that Abraham's servant goes to seek a bride for Isaac.
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This Week's Topic of Conversation: Where did you and your beloved meet?

Chayei Sarah (Continued)
At the well, the servant asks for God's assistance in identifying a proper prospect for Isaac's bride to be:
"Let the maiden to whom I say, 'Please, lower your jar that I may drink,' and who replies, 'Drink, and I will also water your camels'-let her be the one whom You have decreed for Your servant Isaac" (Genesis 24:14). 

 
Scarcely having spoken the words Rebecca appears on the scene and does precisely that. Abraham's servant considers it a message from God that he is on the right track.
 
How can this have meaning to us today? I recall the story of a friend of mine, who had lamented that all the women he met (at the bar) seemed only to be interested in drinking and having a good time. His rabbi advised him to become involved in a volunteer group that stood for values that resonated with him. He did, and through his involvement with that group he came to meet the woman who is now his wife. The servant goes to the well because he is looking for a person who values hard work and contributing to the welfare of her family. His criterion for selection is, "Is she kind?"
 
If you are espoused, think back to the circumstances of how you first came to know your beloved other: was it at the well, or some other type of watering hole? And if you are still searching, the tradition would seem to suggest, go to the place where your ideals and values are put into action, and perhaps you may find a friend whose values you will be blessed to share.  
Last Saturday's Sermon
This past weekend I spoke on two subjects:
  • On Friday night, I shared my conviction that - in a time of pandemic - no one should feel pressured to attend services in person, and that if you see my name on your caller ID it won't be to bother you about attending, but rather because I value your life. (And by all means, feel free to call me anytime 24-6 at 562-726-4116 or email me at rabbi@tbslb.org.)
  • On Saturday morning I remarked on the inability of the men in the story of Elisha and the Shunamit Woman (2 Kings 4:8-37) to notice the obvious or ask useful questions. This might not just be a Biblical phenomenon: one would do well to ask the question "why?" when presented with information, either out loud or to oneself before blundering further on oblivious to the obvious.
Courage and patience, 

David
 
Rabbi David Cantor
Temple Beth Shalom
3635 Elm Ave
Long Beach, CA 90807
direct line:  (562) 726-4116
email: rabbi@tbslb.org