Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
Several days ago I attended a parents meeting regarding the new school year. I sat with other mothers on little children's school chairs as the teacher began to explain her plans for the year. I arrived there after a very busy day so that between the pleasant voice of the teacher and the kids' pictures on the walls, I found myself almost falling asleep. I really had to fight in order to keep my eyes open.
Suddenly I saw on my telephone a message from one of the mothers who could not be there: "I am unable to make it. Could someone summarize for me what the teacher says?" In an instant, I was fully awake. "Me!" I messaged back and from that moment everything changed. I started to copy down the main points: classroom regulations, items permitted for morning snack, transportation to and from school, after school activities, how to celebrate birthdays in class.
What had happened? I received an assignment that was meaningful for me. When you have a purpose, even a small one, you become energized. The greatest gift is the opportunity to do something for someone else, someone who needs your help. You become important in being of service to another human being.
This is exactly what Avraham and Sarah bequeath to us in this week's Torah portion - the value and the feeling of being on a mission.
At the close of the evening, I sent a detailed summary to all the mothers who had asked for one, but I had learned a lot more than the daily classroom schedule and the dates of school vacations.