Have You Forgotten?
There once was a man who was an agent for the yearly lottery in Warsaw. He would go from town to town and sell lottery tickets to people. One year, the agent decided he was going to convince the poorest person in town to buy a ticket. He created a payment plan, a ruble a day for the next year and by doing that he could afford a ticket. The poor man was convinced and bought one.
The agent is in Warsaw for the lottery draw and it turns out, the poor man won the lottery! He heads back to the poor man’s town and even though he arrives at 2 o’clock in the morning he thinks “I have to tell this man now, he will be so happy to hear”. He knocks on the poor man’s door and he opens it. He tells him – “Congratulations, you won the lottery!” The poor man replies – “For that you wake up a rich man in the middle of the night?”
The verse says that Abraham went down to Egypt where he made a fortune and on his way back to Cana’an he stayed at the same people as he did on his journey down to Egypt. Rashi explains that the verse pointing out this fact is teaching us a lesson.
People will often become wealthy, move up in life and forget all the people that helped them out on the way. Abraham had become extremely wealthy, and he could have stayed at the nicest accommodation on his way back to Cana’an yet he wanted to show that he hadn’t forgotten those who had helped him out.
It’s worth thinking about how much you have gained from your immediate environment for example parents and teachers. Without those people you would be all alone. What would you be like today if you grew up all by yourself in a forest? Appreciate that the people in your environment have taught you much knowledge and understanding.
We tend to think our accomplishments are achieved by us and us alone. At the moment of our success we forget everything that was done with the help of others. Abraham’s hosts must have been delighted to have the newly rich and famous Abraham staying with them on his return leg! But they were key components in his path to triumph, and it is only right he showed gratitude.