Vayera 5772 – Putting a Saddle on a Donkey

Avraham woke up early in the morning and saddled his donkey (Bereshis 22:3)

Rashi is bothered. Why would Avraham Avinu do such a menial task? He was so careful with every moment of life and did not waste any time. Then, why did Avraham saddle his donkey? He was extremely wealthy and had loads of servants. Why didn’t he send one of them to do this job?

The answer is Avraham did this act because of his love for Hashem. When a person is in love, he will even do menial tasks for the one he loves.

When I lived in Boston, my Rav mentioned to me how he disliked the way some people do Hagba (lifting the Torah after it is read from). He did not comment regarding the way the person lifted the Torah, but in what the person did after he lifted it. On Shabbos, after Hagba is done there is a Haftarah and the person who did Hagba usually sits with the Sefer Torah for about 10 minutes. Some people came up with an idea to give the Torah to a child or a teenager to hold it during this time. My Rav said this is an incorrect thing to do. The person just had a great honor and what does he do – he hands the Torah to someone else. He is implying that he does not want to have to hold it for even a moment longer. Some people rationalize this by saying they are teaching the child to love the Torah by letting him sit with the Torah, but a greater lesson for the child would be for him to see his father with a big smile on his face while he sits with the heavy Sefer Torah. That is true love for the Torah!

I once heard a Rabbi discuss how making preparations for the Yomim Tovim nowadays is easy. For Pesach, people hop on an airplane and go to a hotel. For Succos, we have pop-up sukkahs. Even for Chanuka, instead of spilling oil all over while we pour it into the cup for the Menorah, there are pre-filled cups you can buy at the store. We can buy all of our Shabbos foods already prepared for us. It has gone so far that you can even buy salt water for your Seder in the store! There is no reason we need to make any preparations anymore.

But if we really want to show how much we love Judaism, we will try to make some type of preparations. We will still want to be somehow involved in doing something. The prepared items for us are a blessing and we can and sometimes should use them, but we still should try to do something in honor of these special days. It will show we really love them.

Imagine going to a baseball game and in the on deck circle is Rosie. Rosie is the servant of the all-star clean-up hitter on the team. This player was thinking, “why should I waste my time preparing for my at bat? I’ll just have my maid do that and when my name is announced I’ll step up to the plate.” Of course we would never see this. The baseball player wants to hit a home-run so he practices his swing before he steps up to bat. The same is with us. If we want to be great and hit spiritual home-runs, we need to step into the on deck circle and make our preparations. Or else we risk getting a spiritual strike-out.

Good Shabbos!
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