Dear Friend,

They say that the best way to learn is to teach. My second-grade students and I have been studying the lives of Abraham and Sarah, and the stories have taken on a new significance to me as I view them through my students’ eyes.

Woven through the narrative is Abraham and Sarah’s childlessness. G‑d assured them that their descendants would be a great nation, as numerous as the stars of the heaven and the dust of the earth. Yet decades passed before G‑d’s promise of a child was fulfilled and Isaac was born.

Our sages note that the news of Sarah’s pregnancy directly follows the account of Abraham’s prayers on behalf of Abimelech, king of Gerar, and his household. “Whoever begs for mercy for his friend, when he needs the same thing, he is answered first,” this juxtaposition teaches us. Even before Abraham’s prayers drew down G‑d’s blessings upon Abimelech, it brought about the realization of G‑d’s promise to him and Sarah.

How powerful it is when we can look beyond our own circumstances and empathize with the pain of another! Like Abraham, let us offer wholehearted prayers, a listening ear, and a helping hand for friends in need, and may we merit G‑d’s blessings in abundance.

Rochel Chein
responder for Ask the Rabbi @