Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Chayyei Sarah


This week's portion is Chayyei Sarah.

The portion begins with Sarah's death and burial. Avraham eulogizes Sarah and tries to acquire a burial plot in Hebron. In negotiations, Ephron, a local Hittite, at first acts in a generous manner, then tries to take advantage of Avraham by over-charging for the land. Avraham over-pays for the land.

Avraham charges his servant Eliezer to leave Israel in order to find an appropriate wife for Isaac. Isaac is supposed to remain in Israel due to his special status as an offering to Gd, so Eliezer is sent to Avraham's grand-nephew, B'tuel.

Eliezer turns to Gd for help, asking that the right girl come to the well and perform a great act of kindness, so that he will know she is the right one. He asks that she offer water for the camels, as well as for himself. Rivka (Rebecca), B'tuel's daughter, does exactly that when she comes out to the well.

Eliezer goes back to her house, where everyone agrees to the marriage. The next day, Lavan, Rivka's brother, begins to protest and stall. Rebecca overrules him, and goes with Eliezer.

Avraham re-marries, marrying a woman named Keturah. Some say that Keturah is the same person as Hagar, Sarah's former maid. Avraham has children with her, but none of them display the greatness of Avraham and Sarah.

Avraham dies, and Yitzchak (Isaac) and Yishmael bury him. Yishmael indicates his repentance for his earlier sins by allowing Yitzchak, the younger of the two, to act ahead of him in the burial.

The portion concludes with a genealogy of Ishmael and a mention of his death. Yishmael wouldn't actually die for a long time afterward, but because he isn't relevant for the rest of the book of Genesis, the rest of his story is recorded at this point.

Have a great day,

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