As Abraham reached the twilight of his years, our Torah portion informs us that “the Eternal had blessed Abraham in every way” (Genesis 24:1).
The Rabbis were perplexed by such an assertion. No surprise! Do you know anyone on earth who is blessed with everything? Some people may give the impression that they “have everything.” But when you scratch the surface you will find that we all carry burdens- physical, emotional, and
financial. We live with disappointment, with pain, with hopes not realised and goals never achieved.
So what about Abraham? As Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman (Nachmanides) suggests, Abraham was blessed with riches, possessions, honour, and
longevity (Ramban on Genesis 24:1). What for me is missing in this list is love, family and friendship.
Last weekend, when we were sitting around the tables that were so richly filled with cakes and sweets for the High Tea, and also on Shabbat at the brocha, after the service, I felt that we are a blessed congregation. Not so much because of the food, which was lovely, but because of being a real community, where friendship and togetherness are not only nice terms on paper, but a lived reality.
When the Torah says that the Eternal had blessed Abraham in every way, perhaps it not only meant the many blessings Abrahm enjoyed in his life-time, but also anticipated the many blessings Abraham‘s children—us—would some days enjoy: a rich tradition, friendship and community.
Rabbi Adrian M Schell