By Ellie Plisko (picutred on the right). Ellie shared this d’var Torah at a recent camp Shabbat at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation.
This week’s Torah portion begins with the death of Sarah and ends with the death of her husband Abraham. Sandwiched in between these two passings is the story of Isaac, son of Sarah and Abraham and how he came to marry Rebekah. Abraham sends Elizer, his top servant, to try and find Isaac a wife and upon finding Rebekah he decides that she is the most suitable for Isaac. When Rebekah agrees to the marriage, she tells her brother Laban and her mother she is going to leave her home to become Isaac’s wife. They respond by telling her that they don’t want her to leave; however, she goes anyways. Her family didn’t want her to leave because they were unsure about how things would be without her since she was such a big part of their everyday routine and they were scared of the changes they would be presented with which makes perfect sense.
Change can be scary. I understand this on a personal level. Seven years ago I made the bold decision to leave my parents for a month to go to 6 Points Sports Academy, a URJ sleepaway sports camp in Greensboro, NC 6 hours away from home! When I told my parents that I wanted to leave and go here for the summer they were happy and excited for me but at the same time surprised and anxious. I was their little girl and as much as they wanted me to go out and experience new things, there was a part of them that wanted me to stay little and allow them to always be with me and overlook all of my choices. Despite all of this, my parents sent me to camp because they knew I would have fun and gain so much joy from being around other young adults who shared my love for sports and Judaism. Camp was one of the most eye-opening experiences I have ever had. As soon as I stepped foot at camp, I knew right away that I was “home” and had the best month of my life. 6 Points was the place that I would spend my summers. After that month, when I got home, my parents could easily tell I had changed and grown into a totally different person. I had a new glow of confidence, made friends from across the globe, and I was independent on a whole new level. It was a big step in my life and going to camp for the past 7 years has helped me grow and blossom into the person who I am today. Without camp I wouldn’t be the same. This journey taught me sportsmanship, honesty, leadership, and independence and I can only think of positive ways I have been affected through my camp experience.
Although I didn’t leave my family to start a completely new life like Rebekah did, I left for a significant amount of time that allowed me to find myself through my 2 biggest passions: sports and Judaism. In the big picture, letting someone so prevalent in your life leave temporarily, in my parents’ case, or permanently, in Rebekah’s case, can be a terrifying thing. In the end, though, it can be beneficial to everyone.