Genesis: Chayei Sara
Is your child a bully?
Most of you will answer “no”. However, many of you will be wrong. It is curious that parents are often the last ones to realize or find out that there child is either physically, verbally or emotionally bullying someone. Such parents are then naturally shocked and/or defensive when confronted with such reports.
Bullies come in all shapes, sizes, ages, tactics and situations. The child (or adult) that is well-behaved, considerate, conscientious, helpful and an all-around darling at home, may be an entirely different animal in the playground or at the office.
Rabbi Hizkiyahu ben Manoach (Hizkuni) was aware of this potential duality and brings this psychology to bear when analyzing the courtship strategy of Abraham’s servant.
Abraham’s servant (who is often identified as Eliezer) travels a significant distance to find the home of his master’s family. Instead of asking directions (maybe it’s a male thing), and going straight to Betuel’s or some other relative’s home, he first goes to the local watering hole and hangs out, watching the young girls for a potential match for Isaac.
Hizkuni explains that Eliezer had a very specific purpose. He wanted to see the girl (Rebecca as it turned out) outside of her home environment. Observing Rebecca anonymously in a public place where she is not surrounded by authority figures would give a truer indication of her nature.
Thankfully for us, our Matriarch Rebecca turned out to be as kindhearted outside the house as in it.
May we all be as fortunate in our children, in our friends and in our children’s friends.
To the staff and administration of Orot Etzion Boys School. They do a noteworthy job on controlling bullying.