For some of our daily activities, responsibilities, and obligations, we are quick to action. For others…..we are less excited about them. Laundry, dishes, and making school lunches are tasks I somehow find excuses to procrastinate. Yet, all we need is Abraham in our midst to teach us the lesson of how to move our bodies and souls just a tad quicker.
When Abraham is approached by three strangers at the edge of his tent, he has every right to not answer the doorbell. He is aged and healing from a brit milah. Yet, he does not take his time. The Torah uses the word ratz (run) two times to describe Abraham’s excitement, and finally vayimaher (he hurried to put food on the table).
The Rabbis notice that his speed cannot be a mistake. Rather, it is purposeful, the desire to fill the needs of others.
Seforno comments that when a person is observed to perform any task with speed, with keenness, this reflects that he considers what he is about to do as important. We see this in the Torah, which tells us that when Moses bowed down before God, he did so hurriedly.
Every morning, my children race to get to school. While often forgetting a water bottle, snack, or piece of homework on their way out the door, I watch them in a hurried motion, excited to see what the day will bring. They walk at a much slower pace as they walk home, realizing the day has ended. As the children of Sinai Temple enter the building, I see teachers in the hallways telling them to slow down. Yes, we must be safe in our steps, but their quick pace to reach the classroom is a demonstration of a thirst for knowledge and community that must never cease.
This week, in teaching a class about the principles of Conservative Judaism, a discussion arose as to who religion serves—one’s self or the other. Do I look into the Torah for self-care, or do I take out the morality and lessons to impart onto others and into a community? If so, do I wait to be called, or do I hurry to see what need I can fill?
While Abraham takes care of himself, he recognizes that he is not alone in the world. He rushes to greet, he rushes to feed, and he rushes to be a part of something greater.
There is much to do in the world around us. May we choose to run to that which fulfills our souls so that other souls may be nourished from our deeds.