Mitzvah Day: Honouring our role models

By Rabbi Aaron Gol...
November 15, 2009

When looking for role models in the Torah, one often has to look at an episode in their lives rather than take into account all the aspects of their lives. Rebecca does not come out smelling like roses, when we consider a literal interpretation of the devious and single-minded way that she favours Jacob over Esau and encourages him to con his brother out of what was rightfully his and to take advantage of his own father’s disabilities to achieve his goals.

Yet in the episode that I have chosen this morning, Rebecca is a symbol for us all as we seek to follow God’s path of righteousness. In particular, as we honour all those who volunteer in our Community for the good of others, we find exceptional behaviour exhibited by our Matriarch.

The medieval Biblical Commentator, Don Isaac Abravanel was himself an incredible contributor to the Jewish Community. Born in Lisbon in 1437, he served as Finance Minister to the kings of Portugal, Spain and Naples. He sought to use his position to lighten the burden on his people but personally suffered from court intrigues and was expelled with the rest of his People in 1492.

Abravanel, sees our passage as a character test devised by Eliezer, Abraham’s servant, to test Isaac’s future bride.



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