Chayei Sarah 5780-2019

“Rebecca and Isaac’s First Encounter: a Revealing Insight into the Future”
(updated and revised from Chayei Sarah 5760-1999)

When Rebecca raises her eyes and first beholds Isaac from afar, she falls off the camel and promptly covers her face with a veil. Rebecca’s actions may very well reflect her feelings of inadequacy about coming from a decadent and idolatrous background, and being betrothed to an intensely spiritual man. This encounter may explain the fraught relationship that the future couple will have.

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Chayei Sarah 5770-2009

"The Willing Bride"

When Rebecca is asked by her family members if she wishes to join Eliezer on his journey back to Abraham in Canaan, she responds with a forceful "Yes!" Her response serves as a basis for several important laws that govern parent-child relationships in Judaism.

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Chayei Sarah 5768-2007

"O Captain, My Captain"

Abraham passes away at age 175. His passing and his burial are described in only four verses. Yet there is much to be gleaned from the nuances of the text. The Midrash and the sages derive many powerful lessons from this brief biblical passage.

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Chayei Sara 5767-2006

"A Match Made in Haran"

Why was Abraham so insistent that his son Isaac not leave the land of Canaan? Why was it necessary for the new bride to commit herself to Isaac without ever seeing him or meeting his actual family?

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Chayei Sara 5766-2005

"Who Is Keturah?"

Our rabbis debate who was "Keturah," the new wife that Abraham takes at the end of parashat Chayei Sarah. There are those that say that she was an entirely new wife. Others argue that Keturah is really Hagar, whom Abraham brought back and remarried. In his mission to be "Av hamon goyim"--a father to many nations--Abraham has six additional children with Keturah and five grandchildren. It is not unlikely that these children, grandchildren and great grandchildren influenced the world with the little Abrahamic tradition that they undoubtedly imbibed from their grandfather and great grandfather.

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Chayei Sara 5765-2004

"Reaching Out to Family Members"

Despite the fact that all his family who still resided in his native Mesopotamia were steeped in idolatry, Abraham decides to send Eliezer back to his homeland to find a bride for his son, Isaac. There is much we can learn from Abraham's perseverance and persistence in reaching out to and retrieving his family members who were so distant from his faith and his traditions.

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Chayei Sara 5764-2003

"Who Was the Matriarch Sarah?"

The death of Sarah, one of the physical and metaphysical progenitors of the Jewish people, is recounted in this week's parasha. In a few short lines of this week's parasha, an abundance of information is revealed about who Sarah was. Her life, though not easy, was full. And when she departed from the mortal world, she left an invaluable spiritual legacy for posterity.

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Chayei Sara 5763-2002

"The Torah's Recipe for Finding a Proper Mate"

This week's parasha is a primary source from which we learn much about the qualities that one should look for when seeking a mate. The lessons that may be gleaned from our scriptures serve as a sound guide, even for contemporary times. They are not primitive. In fact, in many instances, they are light-years ahead of contemporary practices and understandings.

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Chayei Sara 5762-2001

"Raising Jewish Children In A Challenging Environment"

Abraham had eight children: Isaac, Ishmael and his six children with Keturah. Only Isaac and Ishmael are reported to have attended Abraham's burial, and only Isaac is expected to continue the spiritual legacy of Abraham. Nevertheless, the Zohar Chadash notes that even the six children of Keturah are called Abraham's children, attesting to the fact that they carried the spark of Abraham in their souls, however much it may be hidden. There are many lessons that we may learn from Abraham and his child-rearing techniques.

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Chayei Sara 5761-2000

"The Personality of Isaac: The Passive Patriarch"

Much of the life of Isaac appears to reflect his seemingly passive nature. Yet it is apparently through his passivity that he achieves greatness. It is Isaac, the "passive patriarch," who takes hold of the land of Israel, probably because he, as opposed to Abraham and Jacob, never left the land. He toiled on the land, worked the land, plowed the land and harvested the land. Through his quiet perseverance, Isaac achieved more than many others accomplish with much noise and bravado.

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Chayei Sara 5760-1999

"The First Encounter Between Rebecca and Isaac: A Revealing Insight Into the Future"

When Rebecca raises her eyes and first sees Isaac, she falls off the camel and promptly covers her face with a veil. At the time, Isaac is returning from Be'er L'chai Ro'ee. We see that at their very first encounter, both Isaac and Rebecca carry much baggage with them. Isaac may still be recovering from the trauma of the Akeidah, and Rebecca's actions reflect her feelings of inadequacy about coming from a rather decadent idolatrous background and being betrothed to a great spiritual man. This encounter may explain the unusual relationship that the future couple will have.

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0 Comments10 Minutes