Tying Up Loose Ends
Avraham took another wife, whose name was Keturah.
They dwelt from Havilah, by Shur, which is close to Egypt, all the way to Assyria; they camped alongside all their kinsmen.
The portion ends with an account of the end of Abraham’s days and a genealogy of Isaac’s half-brother, Ishmael.
If you do the math, Abraham lives on to see his grandchildren. However, he makes no further appearances in the narrative, and so the Torah wraps up his story here. We are told he remarries, fathering many more children and grandchildren. These descendants, however, do not share Isaac’s status, so he gives them gifts and sends them on their way. He lives to the age of 175, and is buried beside Sarah by both Isaac and Ishmael together in the Cave of Machpelah.
As the Israel Bible notes, this portion, which both opens and closes with the Cave of Machpelah, has spawned a popular custom in Israel of travelling to Hebron on the week in which it is read to hear it recited at the very site of the Cave. Around the world, this Sabbath is known as Shabbat Chevron, and special blessings and prayers are recited in synagogues everywhere for the holy city. Ultimately, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob and Leah are buried there, too, and according to tradition, so were Adam and Eve.
Virtual Classroom Discussion
What do you think we can learn from the fact that both Isaac and Ishmael came to bury their father together?