Choosing to Do Chores

Chayei Sara: A resource for families.

Commentary on Parashat Chayei Sara, Genesis 23:1 - 25:18

Chores can be hard when forced to do them or easy and enjoyable if we choose to do them. There are ways to introduce them to our children so that they become more naturally executed responsibilities rather than an occasion for parental nagging.

This week’s Torah portion offers some clues. We meet Rebecca, who is a picture of motion and energy. She is a young woman with a jug on her shoulder on her way to the well to draw water for her family. That had to be a hard chore due to the weight of the clay jug filled with water.

Rebekah must have known how important this chore of life-sustaining water was to her family. She appears very willing to complete the task. Abraham’s servant has been sent to look for a wife for Isaac. As soon as Rebekah sees him, she runs to fill her jug and gives him water, and then she runs back again to get water for his camels. Rebekah doesn’t hesitate.

She chooses to be helpful. Not only does she fulfill her own obligations, but she goes beyond her duty to help others and then their animals. It’s from these qualities that Abraham’s servant realizes that she would be an excellent wife for Isaac.

We can learn from Rebekah. She doesn’t resist chores because she knows that the responsibility for her family doesn’t only lie with her parents. That responsibility is shared among adults and children alike. While on one hand children inhabit a protected island of childhood, they also have commitments to the well-being of their family. As they grow older, their responsibilities expand so that they are able to play a larger role in taking care of their family.

TALK TO YOUR KIDS
about the importance of their taking responsibility for helping your family.

CONNECT TO THEIR LIVES:
·    Which chores are easy for you?
·    Which are hard? Why?
·    Why are chores important to do?

© Copyright 2010 Joyce and Fred Claar

From “Values and Ethics: Torah Topics for Today,” available from Behrman House Publishers.

 

Discover More

Jewish Employee-Employer Relations

How Jewish law seeks to create a balanced relationship between bosses and workers.

The Shunamite Woman: A Model of Radical Empathy

Because she had a special relationship with the prophet Elisha, her child was miraculously conceived and miraculously resurrected.

My Wife, My Sister

Three times in Genesis, wives are "passed off" as sisters.

The Torah

Five books of story, law, and poetry divided into 54 weekly portions.

Kohelet: Torah for the 21st Century

The Book of Ecclesiastes may be the section of the Hebrew Bible most relevant to the way we experience the world today.

The Book of Eicha: Faith in a Whirlwind

At the core of Lamentations is an expression of faith in the human capacity to survive in a broken world.

Fourteen Things You Need to Know About King David

The mighty warrior and sweet singer slew Goliath, stole the throne, and conquered Jerusalem—and that’s just a start!

What Ruth Can Teach Us About Celebrating Shavuot

The Jewish people accepted the Torah in fear of God's overwhelming power. Ruth accepted it out of love and loyalty.