The Portion of Chayei Sarah

Genesis 23:1-25:18

This week’s portion focuses on the death of Sarah and Abraham’s quest to find a wife for their son, Isaac. Although Abraham disapproves of the local women, he does not want Isaac to leave the Land of Israel to find his wife. Abraham thus sends a servant in his place to find the right woman to marry his son. The portion ends with an account of Abraham’s final days and a genealogy of Ishmael.

 

 

Topic 1: Sarah’s Death and Burial

At the age of 127, Abraham’s beloved wife, Sarah, passes away. He sets out to find an appropriate burial site in his adopted home-town of Hebron for his departed. In an elaborate bargaining ceremony, Abraham negotiates the price for a double-cave, the Cave of Machpelah, in the field of Ephron the Hittite, settling at last… Read More »

 

 

Topic 2: Abraham Seeks a Wife for Isaac

After burying his own wife, Abraham turns his attentions to finding a wife for their son, Isaac. Knowing as he does that Isaac is meant to be his spiritual heir, not just any woman will do. Nor may Isaac leave the Holy Land for any reason. Therefore, Abraham charges his trusty servant to select a… Read More »

 

 

Topic 3: The Servant’s Account

When Rebecca arrives home ahead of her guest, she tells her brother Laban what has transpired. Laban welcomes the servant into their home, offering both man and beast provisions. The servant, however, refuses to eat until he has said his piece.   Noting his master’s great wealth and success, he relates to the family that… Read More »

 

 

Topic 4: Rebecca Accepts

The servant asks the family if he may take Rebecca back to Israel to marry Isaac. Brother and father alike respond that they cannot stand in the way of God’s will, and she may go with him. When the servant asks to leave the next morning, however, her mother and brother ask that Rebecca be… Read More »

 

 

Topic 5: Tying Up Loose Ends

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,… Read More »

 

 

Topic 6: Haftarah - Avraham and Adoniah’s Lessons for Avoiding Another Altalena Affair

In June, 1948 the five week old State of Israel desperately needed weapons and the Irgun arranged for a ship full of armaments to arrive at the Tel Aviv port. Upon arrival of the ‘Altalena’, David Ben Gurion demanded the weapons be turned over to the Hagana. When the Irgun refused, the government ordered fire… Read More »
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