Back to This Week's Parsha | Previous Issues
Vayetze"And it was, when Ya'akov saw Rachel, daughter of Lavan his mother's brother, and the flock of Lavan his mother's brother, Ya'akov came forward and rolled the stone off the mouth of the well and watered the sheep of Lavan his mother's brother" (Bereishis 29:10).
In the previous parashah, we find Ya'akov taking things from his wicked brother, Eisav. But in this week's parashah, we learn that our Patriarch Ya'akov helped Rachel water her flock of sheep.
Later in the Torah, we find Moshe Rabbeinu doing the same thing. He helped the daughters of Yisro water their flock of sheep, and saved them from their oppressors.
In volume one of the fabulous book Michtav Me'Eliyahu, we read the words of HaRav Eliyahu Dessler zt"l which extol, at length, the virtue of giving. He explains that there is no joy like that of helping one in need. Giving, he says, is much more pleasurable than receiving.
One Purim day, when I was a young student at R.J.J., an older student, Shemuel Dovid Weichbrod, told me, "Ben Zion, today I'm going to give you the most enjoyable Purim in your life. You will accompany me to visit the lonely, elderly patients in Beth Israel Hospital." It sounded like an interesting experience, so I agreed.
When we arrived at the hospital, Shemuel Dovid asked the nurse at the front desk to direct us to someone who was starving for visitors. She immediately pointed us in the direction of a certain room. Upon entering, we saw an old, sick man, lying on his back and staring at the ceiling.
Shemuel Dovid smiled and said in Yiddish, "Hello. Today is Purim, the festival of joy. We came to cheer you up."
The man practically ignored us as he was totally engrossed in his pitiful condition. He was very ill and apparently even his family did not visit him much. But Shemuel Dovid did not give up. "How are you feeling?" he asked the patient. "Not well at all," he replied. "I am very sick and lonely."
"That's exactly why we came," S. D. continued. "Today is Purim and we wanted to make you happy." The old man turned slightly towards the side table and said, "In the second drawer there is some money. You may take some for your cause - whatever it is."
With a big, gentle smile, the older boy whom I was beginning to admire replied, "We didn't come for money. Our only 'cause' is to visit you and spend a few moments delivering Purim cheer to you." When the man realized his visitors' sincerity, he began to cry from happiness. "Thank you so very much for coming," he said. "My own children hardly ever visit me. You have made me so happy. Please, please, come again."
When we left the hospital, some time later, I knew that Shemuel Dovid had been right. It was the best Purim I had ever enjoyed before!
Shema Yisrael Torah Network