וירץ אברהם“” - “And Avrohom ran.” Avrohom’s zeal in greeting guests, doing chessed, and following the retzon Hashem distinguishes him as a role model for us in the middah of zrizus. Avrohom did not delegate tasks to others; he did the acts of chessed himself every time – except once. When Avrohom wanted to prepare a meal for his honored guests (the melochim), he gave the calf to Yishmoel to prepare. The Chofetz Chaim learns from here that a person should educate and train his children to do acts of chessed.
However, the Gemara in Bava Metzia says that everything Avrohom prepared for the melochim by himself, Hashem Himself prepared for Klal Yisroel in the מדבר, whereas everything Avrohom prepared through aשליח, Hashem prepared for Klal Yisroel through aשליח . It seems to follow that Avrohom asking Yishmoel to help out was an inferior way of doing the mitzvah!
Rav Yechezkel Sarna, Rosh Yeshivas Chevron, explains that although Avrohom’s intention was to train Yishmoel to do chessed, the very best way to educate your children is to do it yourself! This is even better than teaching your children to do chessed.
Theoretical teaching is far surpassed by us, as parents, setting a good example. Teaching children about chessed and involving children in acts of chessed are, of course, important components of chinuch. However, the true key to successful chinuch and to our success in raising genuine b’nai Torah is to be role models for our children in chessed and in our attitude toward all mitzvos.
Rabbi Gidon Goldberg
Head of School