The significance of kindness


This week’s Torah reading contains two acts of kindness that have long-lasting effects.  First, Rebecca spontaneously offers to draw water for thirsty camels, revealing her caring heart and willingness to act selflessly.  This act binds her to Isaac, and its ripples reach down to their descendants, as we are urged to put kindness to all creatures at the center of our lives.  Second, Isaac and Ishmael come together to bury their father, Abraham.  Despite all the ways that others have sought to separate them, these two brothers join forces to care for and honor their father as well as to comfort each other, seeing in that moment that what they have in common outweighs their differences.  This act binds the brothers together, and it provides a seed of hope for their descendants that we, too, can come together and see our commonalities despite our differences.  In contemplating these two stories, may we always be aware of how acts of kindness are not only valuable in and of themselves but also have enduring effects that we might not ever see.  And may that prompt us to act kindly every day of our lives.