This is a series for the bar/bat mitzvah parent on quick, concise and meaningful messages from the weekly Torah portion – perfect for use in a parent speech.


Abraham was the paragon of hospitality and giving. When Eliezer, his servant, went to go find a wife for Abraham’s son Isaac, he wanted to make sure the woman fit with the family values. So when he got to Charan, the area where Abraham had come from, he went to the local well and devised a test.

“Whichever girl I ask to give me a drink, and she says, ‘Drink, and I will also give your camels to drink’ – she shall be the wife for Isaac!”

And so it was. Rebecca is walking away from the well, having filled her family’s water jug, and Eliezer approaches her. “Please, miss, may I have a small drink?”

“Sure!” Rebecca gives him some water, and when he’s finished, she surveys his camels and says, “Your camels are probably thirsty, too. I’ll get water for them until they’re all satisfied.”

Do you know how much a camel drinks when it’s thirsty? About 30 gallons in 13 minutes, according to National Geographic. And Eliezer had ten camels. 300 GALLONS?! Well, she probably couldn’t do it in 13 minutes, but however many minutes – or hours – it took her, at the end she received a marriage proposal.

How and why would a young girl do that?

Rebecca was a giver. She realized that true satisfaction in life comes from giving to others, not from taking for yourself. And the more you can give, the deeper your satisfaction will be.

Babies are born with their hands clenched tight (tending to get lots of little fuzz stuck in the crevices of their palms and around their fingers). Babies are takers. All they know is ME ME ME – feed me, hold me, change me, gimme, gimme, gimme. They can’t see outside of themselves and their own needs. Becoming an adult is about becoming a giver. It’s not all about people fulfilling my wants and needs – it’s about me being able to extend myself and give to others. And there is nothing on earth more satisfying.