December 5, 2023
December 5, 2023

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Chayei Sarah 5776: What’s Your (Back)Story?

“Do you want the real story, or what we tell people?”

That was the initial response when I called someone and asked how they succeeded in a public affairs victory. Intrigued even more now, I opted for the former.

The sages of the Talmud similarly note Eliezer’s matchmaking adventure takes up more space in the Torah than many far more vital laws and requirements.

Not only does the Bible recount his preparations and planning as well as his meeting Rebecca, but, when she brings him to her father’s home, the Bible has him repeat the scenario to them.

It’s the kind of thing an editor might cut out in looking to save a few column inches in a paper, or to advance a plot in a movie or novel. Yet, there it is, left in by the Editor, with a capital “e.”

It’s because sometimes there are real lessons to be learned not just from the factual result but from the process. It’s why behind-the-scenes stories interest us. It’s why reporters look to embed themselves with a candidate, and to see them not only at a public event but in the green room, or on the campaign bus.

It’s why we devour memoirs, even those that are judiciously do not “tell all.”

There’s inspiration in it, and practical takeaways. It might just be why the Bible repeats itself here.

Words to consider. Ideas to ponder. Politics and the parsha.

Howie Beigelman, formerly of Springfield, NJ, is Executive Director of Ohio Jewish Communities. He works at the intersection of Jewish communal service and nonprofit advocacy. Follow him on Twitter @howielb.

By Howie Beigelman

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