Nice but not naive
Chaya Sarah (Genesis 23:1)
I am HaShem, your G-d ……. Be like Me!
One of the hardest things to balance is to be sincerely positive, believing, and kind and at the same time not to be naive.
We have all been disappointed and even hurt by people we have been kind to. Yet, if we are overly skeptical we will never be kind.
This past Shabbat’s tragic Pittsburgh massacre reminds us that as much as we want to be open and inviting, we should be cautious about freely letting in all people. Now we know that having a guard at the door is necessary. This is a good analogy for life - be cautious when someone new is entering your life, however, once in, embrace them with love and kindness.
In this week's Parsha Eliezer, Abraham's faithful servant is in Aram on a mission to find a suitable match for Isaac.
He stands by the city well and asks a young girl (Rebecca) to give him some water. She gives him some and proceeds to give his camels as well. The seemingly perfect girl. When the camels finished drinking Eliezer began to speak to her about the match. The classic commentator Sforno questions why we need to know that he waited until the camels finished drinking before speaking to her. Surely he could have begun straight after she had drawn the water? He explains because Eliezer wanted to check if Rebecca would ask for payment. Once he saw that she wasn't going to, he knew that she was truly a selflessly kind person and he could proceed with his mission.