Parashat Chaye Sarah – November 11, 2017 – 22 Cheshvan 5778

Why do we delay Kiddush in shul with singing and blessings? Kiddush is very popular. Why not dig right in and save the blessings for afterwards?

In this week’s parasha, Avraham’s servant is sent on a crucially important mission: To bring back a suitable wife for Isaac from Aram, the place of Avraham’s kin. After having arrived and having met Rebecca, the bride to be, the servant is invited to her family’s home and a delicious meal is placed before him. Then a curious thing happens. Instead of starting to eat, the servant says, “I will not eat until I have spoken my piece.” (24:33) Why doesn’t the servant eat what he has been served and afterwards speak? Why does he insist on speaking first?

The commentators explain that diving into the food would have had the unintended consequence of diminishing the importance of the servant’s message. By insisting that he speak before beginning to eat, he knew he would have everyone’s full attention and respect. A wise rabbi realizes that he/she stands between the Jews and their Kiddush, and services that seem to drag on too long will not be appreciated. None the less, we also realize that if we want our services to get the attention they deserve, davening and blessings need to happen before the Kiddush buffet line gets underway!

B’Yedidut (w/friendship),

Rabbi Mitch Levine