Family Parsha Parshat Chayei Sarah: Being Honest
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Chayei Sarah(Genesis 23:1-25:18)

Being Honest


Eliezer was Abraham's faithful assistant. For over 60 years he had helped Abraham with everything he did. Now when it was time to find a wife for his precious son, Isaac, Abraham trusted only Eliezer to do the job. So Eliezer set out on a long journey through the desert on his mission to find the right girl. He brought ten camels with him, all loaded with beautiful gifts for the bride to be. There was sparkling jewelry, gorgeous clothing and all types of gold and silver vessels. Everyone who saw them traveling knew right away that these camels belonged to Abraham because his camels looked different than everyone else's. They all wore a very special muzzle on their mouths to make sure they didn't eat from somebody else's field! Finally, Eliezer and the camels came to a well. Eliezer asked God to show him a sign that he had found the right wife for Isaac. Just then, Rebecca came to the well. She was very beautiful and very kind. Eliezer asked her if she would give him a drink since he was very thirsty from his trip through the dessert. Rebecca ran right away to bring him a drink. But she didn't stop there. She brought water for the camels too -- gallons and gallons of water until all the thirsty camels were satisfied. This was exactly the sign that Eliezer had asked God for. He thanked God for helping him to find Rebecca, who agreed to marry Isaac and became the next mother of the Jewish people.

 


Abraham was careful to muzzle his camels so they wouldn't eat food that didn't belong to him. In this story, a boy follows in Abraham's footsteps and is extra-careful not to steal.

"COUNT YOUR CHANGE"

"Jamie, what are you gonna do with all that money?" asked his excited friends. Jamie Coleman wasn't used to having a lot of money. His family was poor and he and his brothers learned to get by with little. But now Jamie felt rich. His pockets were full of money. But something just wasn't right.

It all started when he went to the bank to pay a bill for his father. Mrs. Johnson, the bank teller was supposed to give him $10 in change, but by mistake she gave him $100. Jamie couldn't believe his eyes. It was more money than Jamie had ever seen.

He showed the money to his astonished friends. "Wow, are you lucky!" said his friend, Larry. "What are you gonna buy with it?" asked his buddy, Phil.

Jamie didn't answer. He was quiet for a long time. Finally he looked up and said, "I'm not gonna buy anything with this money. I'm going right back to the bank to give it back."

"But why?" asked Larry. "You didn't take the money. They gave it to you. They'll never find out, hundreds of people go to the bank every day. And besides, I'm sure that you need the money more than they do!"

"It doesn't matter," Jamie said firmly. "If I keep this money, it's stealing. It doesn't belong to me."

When he got to the bank and gave Mr. Johnson back the money, the amazed teller smiled a big smile. She called the manager over and pointing to Jamie, announced "Take a look at a real hero."

 


Ages 3-5

Q. Why did Jamie give back the money to Mrs. Johnson?
A. Because it didn't belong to him.

Q. Are we allowed to take something that's not ours? Why not?
A. No. It's stealing.

Ages 6-9

Q. Why did Jamie's friends think he didn't have to give back the money?

Q. Were these good reasons to keep the money? Why or why not?

Ages 10 and Up

Q. Would you call the following cases stealing? Why or why not?

  1. A person takes a dress she likes from the store
  2. Someone takes home a towel from his hotel room
  3. A pay phone is broken and doesn't take money and a person purposely uses it to make calls

Q. Can you think of something people do without knowing that it's stealing but in fact it really is?

 

Published: January 24, 2000

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