Chayei Sarah 5781-2020

“The Personality of Isaac: The Passive Patriarch”
(updated and revised from Chayei Sarah 5761–2000)

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 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 5779-2018

“Abraham’s Eulogy for His Beloved Sarah”

While others, who spoke at Sarah’s funeral, emphasized how Sarah was a true help-meet to Abraham, Abraham himself spoke of his wife as a spiritual giant herself.

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Chayei Sarah 5778-2017

“Who is Eliezer the Damascan?”

Eliezer, the Damascan slave of Abraham, plays a key role in determining the destiny of Abraham’s progeny. His actions resonate to this very day.

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Chayei Sarah 5777-2016

“Sarah Dies at Age 127”
The Matriarch Sarah lived 127 years of righteous life, which served as a model of righteousness for many generations of Jews.

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Chayei Sarah 5776-2015

“The Legacy of Ishmael”

The tendency of the descendants of Jacob to diminish the “specialness” of the children of Ishmael may be understandable, especially in light of the painful contemporary events. Nevertheless, upon examining the Biblical sources, it is impossible to deny the special qualities and endowments of the children of Ishmael.

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Chayei Sarah 5775-2014

“Are Marriages Made in Heaven?”

When Abraham’s servant, Eliezer, asks Laban and Bethuel, Rebecca's brother and father, whether they will allow Rebecca to return to Canaan to marry Abraham's son, they reply: "The matter stemmed from the L-rd! We can say to you, neither bad nor good." Are marriages made in heaven?

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Chayei Sarah 5774-2013

"Yitzchak Establishes a Home with His New Wife"

The betrothal of Isaac and Rebecca can serve as a most valuable case study for finding a mate and establishing a successful home environment.

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Chayei Sarah 5773-2012

"Beware Not to Return My Son There!"

Why was Abraham so adamant about not allowing his servant, Eliezer, to take Abraham’s son, Isaac, out of the land of Israel to look for an appropriate mate?

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Chayei Sarah 5772-2011

“The Mystery of Machpelah”

Why was Abraham so singularly determined to bury Sarah in the cave of Machpelah? Apparently, the cave had a very special meaning to him. As a result of Abraham’s actions, Machpelah was to develop into a most revered location for all Jews throughout the ages.

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Chayei Sarah 5771-2010

“What Shall I Do, My Parents Hate Him?!”

In parashat Chayei Sarah, we encounter the world’s first shidduch (arranged marriage) and the world’s first shadchan (matchmaker). In the past, we have discussed how Jewish law mandates that a woman not be married against her will, but what about the more general question related to children who refuse to listen to their parents’ opinion regarding choosing a mate, and wish to marry mates to whom their parents object? What is the protocol?

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Chayei Sarah 5769-2008

"Mourning and Eulogizing"

In parashat Chayei Sarah, Abraham comes to eulogize Sarah and to weep for her. What is the purpose of a eulogy? Who is it meant to honor, and what is it expected to achieve?

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