This week Sara and I were blessed with our brand new baby girl, Rivkah. We are absolutely thrilled with this incredible blessing and addition to our family, and filled with thanks to God.

In her honor, I'd like to share a few words about the very first Rivkah, or Rebecca, the second matriarch of the Jewish people.

Rivkah is a towering figure in the Torah. She was married to Isaac (Yitzchak), the son of Abraham and Sarah, the first Jews. Her son was Jacob, otherwise known as Israel, the third patriarch of the Jewish people.

But Rivkah is known, perhaps above all else, for her introductory story in the Torah. It is on this story that I'd like to focus, as it exemplifies Judaism at its heart, and has served as an important lesson throughout the ages.

When Abraham's servant, Eliezer, arrived in Rivkah's town of Haran in search of a wife for his master's son Isaac, he asked God for a sign by which he should know which woman would be the right one. His sign was that if someone would offer to bring water for him - he was obviously a recent arrival in town - as well as for his entire flock of camels, he would know that she was the right one. Indeed, Rivkah arrived and offered to do exactly that, and the rest is history.

Rivkah is introduced to us a kind, caring person, willing to schlep water from the well for a person she'd never met, and for a thirsty herd of camels. It was this act of kindness that started her journey as a matriarch of the Jewish people.

People often ask what is the relationship between Judaism on the one hand, and being a good, kind and decent person - a 'Mensch' - on the other.

The answer is that there is no relationship. For they are not two things, they are one and the same.

Judaism is rooted in the belief that God is One. This doesn't only mean that there is only one deity. It means much more than that. It means that everything in our universe, especially people, has a spark of God within it. Thus, God truly is everywhere, in everything, and really is uniquely 'One'.

This belief leads directly to true respect, tolerance and love for others. If God is in every person, then that person must be respected, loved and valued. Their value is also inherent, not due to external circumstances due to background, career or social status.

So let us all continue Rivkah's 3600 year old tradition of kindness, respect and caring. It's at the very heart of Jewish tradition, and will always be so. Let us remind ourselves, our families and friends that people are treasures and God's children. Just the fact that God created you is the greatest proof that, in God's eyes, you matter.

Rabbi Avrohom