Parashat Chayei Sarah

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Parshas Chayei Sarah


[edit] Passing of Sarah

After hearing about the Akida, how Yitzchak was prepared for slaughter and almost slaughtered, Sarah's soul flew out of her and passed away.[1] Her life spanned 127 years, all of them which were equally good.[2] Sarah was 100 years old but like 20 years old regarding sin, who is not yet liable for punishment and was like a 7 year old regarding beauty.[2] She died in Chevron in the Land of Canaan which was also named Kiryas Arba - Settlement of Four after the four giants living there; Achiman, Sheshai, Talmai and their father.[1] It also alluded to the future destiny of the city which would have four holy couples buried there; Adom and Chava, Avrahom and Sarah, Yitzchak and Rivka, Yackov and Leah.[1]

[edit] The Burial

Avrahom came from Beer Sheva[1] to eulogize Sarah and to mourn her.

[edit] Purchasing the Cave

Avrahom arose from before his dead, and spoke to the men of Ches. He mentioned how he was a stranger from another land but had settled among them[3] as an inhabitant of the land. He requested a piece of land[3] by them to use as a burial plot, where he could bury his dead from before him. If they were willing to sell it to him, Avrahom would buy it like a stranger but if not he would take it legally as an inhabitant since Hashem had already promised[4] to give his descendants the Land.[3]

The Sons of Ches answered Avraham calling him a prince of G-D who dwells in their midst and telling him that he could bury his dead in the choicest of their graves. None of them would withhold[5] their graves from Avrahom burying his dead. Avraham arose and bowed to the Sons of Ches, the people of the land. He answered them that if it was their will[6] to allow him to bury Sarah they should listen to him and request[6] from Ephron ben Tzochar that he may give him the Machpelah double cave, that belongs to him which is found at the end of his field. He should give it to Avraham at its full priced value[7] as a burial property in their midst. It was called the Mearos Hamachpela since it was a two story cave[7] and because it contained buried couples;[7] currently Adom and Chava and later Avraham and Sarah, Yitzchak and Rivka, Yackov and Leah. Avraham wished to pay the full price of the land so later the sale could not be contested. Similarly King Dovid purchased the land of the Beis Hamikdash from Araunah at its full value.[7]

Ephron was sitting amongst the people of Ches since he had been appointed as an officer over them that very day and had been raised to greatness due to the importance of Avraham who needed him.[8] Ephron the Chiti answered Avraham announcing to all the people of Ches who had left their work[8] and came to the city gate, to pay respect to Sarah.[8] Avraham should listen to him and not purchase it with money,[9] rather Ephron is giving him the field and the cave that is in it for free in front of his people, and it is as if he has already given it to him[9] to bury his dead. Avraham bowed before the people of the land.

Avraham replied to Ephron allowing the people of the land to hear, that he is not interested in accepting his offer of giving the field for free.[10] Rather if Ephron would only[10] listen to him and accept the money that he had prepared[10] and wished he had already given him[10] for the field, then he will then bury his dead there.

Ephron replied to Avraham, telling him that a piece of land that is worth only four hundred shekels of silver, what is its importance between two friends like them.[11] It is not important so let him leave the sale[11] and bury his dead. Avraham listened to Ephron and weighed out to him the 400 shekels of silver that were acceptable by all merchants, which Ephron had requested in front of the people of Ches. Ephron had promised a lot but did not nothing,[12] originally he declared that he wanted to give the cave as a gift but in the not only did he take the full payment, he took it in extra large Kentrin shekels, each worth 100 coins, that were acceptable everywhere, even in locations that used large shekels.[12] Due to this Ephron had the letter Vav subsequently removed from his name in the Torah.[12]

Retrospectively the field of Ephron which was in Machpelah, facing Mamre, was established as Avraham's possession,[13] thereby rising from the the possession of a simple person to the possession of a king.[13] This included the field, the cave that was in it and all the trees that were in the field, within its entire surrounding borders. It became Avraham's possession before the eyes of the Chetim. Ephron sold it to him[14] in the midst and presence[14] of all who had come within the city gate.

[edit] Burial of Sarah

Afterwards, Avraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah, facing Mamre, which is Hebron, in the land of Canaan. The field and the cave within it were established to Avraham as burial property, purchased from the Chitim.

[edit] Eliezer's Mission

[edit] Aging of Avraham

Avraham was old, advanced in days, and Hashem had blessed Avraham with everything including a son,[15] which he now had to marry off.[15]

[edit] Eliezer's Oath

Avraham asked his servant Eliezer, the elder of his house, who ruled over all that was his; to please place his hand under his thigh. One who swears must hold in his hand a religious item such as a Torah scroll or Tefillin. Since circumcision was Avraham's first mitzvah and he had fulfilled it with pain, it was dear to him; so he choose to use it.[16]

Avraham requested that Eliezer swear by Hashem the G-D of the heaven and earth, that he will not take a wife for Yitzchak from the Canaanites, in whose midst they lived. Rather he was to go to the land of Avraham's birthplace and from there find a wife for his son Yitzchak.

Eliezer inquired in the case where the woman would not agree to go back with him to the Land of Cannan, would he be permitted to bring Yitchak to Aram Naharaim. Avraham responded, warning Eliezer not to bring Yitzchak there. Rather Hashem the G-D of the heavens Who took him from his father's home in Charun[17] and Ur Kasdim[17] the land of his birth and spoke concerning[17] him and swore to him during the Bris Bein Habisarim[17] that He would give the Land of Canaan to his son, He will send His angel before Eliezer, and he should take a wife for Yitzchak from there. When Hashem first took Avraham from his father's home, he was not yet recognized amongst the people, therefore Avraham referenced Hashem only as G-D of the Heavens. Now at the time of the oath due to Avraham's great outreach efforts amongst the people who learned to recognize Hashem, he was able to reference Him as the G-D of both Heaven and Earth.[17] If despite this; the woman would not agree to go with Eliezer, he will be absolved of this oath and he may select a wife for Yitzchak from the daughters of Aner, Eshkol and Mamre.[18] Eliezer only should do not bring Yitzchak back to Aram Naharaim, although his grandson Yackov is destined to go back.[18]

Eliezer placed his hand under the thigh of Avraham his master and swore to him concerning this matter.

[edit] Trip to Aram Naharaim

Eliezer took ten of his master's camels and went to Aram Naharaim to the city of Nachor. Avraham's camels were distinguishable from other camels, since they were muzzled to prevent them from grazing in strangers’ fields, which is a form of stealing.[19] Eliezer took in his hand a gift contract bequeathing to Yitzchak[19] the best of Avraham's assets and everything he owned.[19] This was done to expedite Besuel to send his daughter.[19] Aram Naharaim was located between two rivers.[19]

[edit] The Well

When Eliezer arrived, he made the camels kneel[20] outside the city beside the well of water towards evening. This was the time when the women of the city would come to draw water.

[edit] Eliezer's Prayer

Eliezer prayed to Hashem, calling him the G-D of his master Avraham and asking Him to perform a favor for Avraham and have his objectives transpire that day. Since he was standing by the water well and the girls of the city were coming out to draw water, he would do the following test; the girl to whom he will ask to lower her pitcher and allow him to drink water, that will not only allow him to drink but also offer water for his camels, this will clarify[21] that she must be the one designated by Hashem to marry Yitzchak. If she will perform such acts of kindness, she is was worthy for Yitzchok and fit to enter the house of Avraham.[21]

Eliezer begged[21] that through her, Hashem will let him know[21] that He performed an act of kindness with Avraham, if she ended up being from Avraham's family and worth for Yitzchok.[21]

[edit] Arrival of Rivka

Before Eliezer finished speaking his prayer, Rivka arrived, with her pitcher on her shoulder. She was the daughter of Besuel, the son of Milka and Nachor, Avraham's brother. She had a nice appearance and never had any form[22] of physical relationships. Unlike the other locals, she was completely clean.[22] Rivka wend down to the well, filed her pitcher and went up.

After seeing the waters of the well rise towards Rivka,[23] Eliezer the servant ran toward her, and aske to please allow him to swallow[23] a little water from her pitcher. Rivka replied that he should drink and quickly lowered the pitcher from her shoulder to her hand and gave Eliezer to drink.[24]

When she finished giving him to drink, Rivka announced that she would also draw water for all his camels until they had enough, were full[25] and done drinking. She quickly emptied[26] her pitcher into the hollowed stone trench, from which the camels drank[26] and ran again to the well to draw more water. Rivka continued until she drew water for all his camels.

Eliezer was astonished, desolated,[27] lost in his thoughts[27] and startled[27] about[27] her. He saw his attempt looked like it was succeeding but did not yet know if the girl was from the family of Avraham.[27] He stood silently in his place,[27] waiting[27] to know whether or not Hashem had made his mission successful.

When the camels finished drinking, Eliezer took a gold nose ring, weighing half a shekel and two bracelets for her hands, weighing ten gold shekels. These gifts expressed much symbolism;

  • Half shekel (בקע) nose ring = Alluded to the Jewish Machtzis Hashekel collections (בקע) per each head.[28]
  • Two bracelets (צמידים) = Alluded to the two Luchos Tablets that were closely (מצומדות) paired together.[28] Their 10 shekel weight, alluded to the Ten Commandments inscribed on the Luchos.[28]

Eliezer asked Rivka whos daughter she was and if she had place in her fathers house to sleep for one night.[28] He inquired her identity only after giving the gifts, since Eliezer was confident that in the merit of Avraham, Hashem had made him successful in his mission.[29] Rivka replied in the order of the questions she was asked;[30] she was the daughter of Besuel, whom Milka bore for Nachor. She then informed Eliezer that they had a place for him to sleep for many nights, not only for the single night that he requested.[29] and had plenty of straw, barley[31] and fodder for feeding his camels. Eliezer then kneeled and bowed down to Hashem.

[edit] References

  1. ^ a b c d Rashi Berashis 23:2
  2. ^ a b Rashi Berashis 23:1
  3. ^ a b c Rashi Berashis 23:4
  4. ^ Berashis 12:7
  5. ^ Rashi Berashis 23:6
  6. ^ a b Rashi Berashis 23:8
  7. ^ a b c d Rashi Berashis 23:9
  8. ^ a b c Rashi Berashis 23:10
  9. ^ a b Rashi Berashis 23:11
  10. ^ a b c d Rashi Berashis 23:13
  11. ^ a b Rashi Berashis 23:15
  12. ^ a b c Rashi Berashis 23:16
  13. ^ a b Rashi Berashis 23:17
  14. ^ a b Rashi Berashis 23:18
  15. ^ a b Rashi Berashis 24:1
  16. ^ Rashi Berashis 24:2
  17. ^ a b c d e Rashi Berashis 24:7
  18. ^ a b Rashi Berashis 24:8
  19. ^ a b c d e Rashi Berashis 24:10
  20. ^ Rashi Berashis 24:11
  21. ^ a b c d e Rashi Berashis 24:14
  22. ^ a b Rashi Berashis 24:16
  23. ^ a b Rashi Berashis 24:17
  24. ^ Rashi Berashis 24:18
  25. ^ Rashi Berashis 24:19
  26. ^ a b Rashi Berashis 24:20
  27. ^ a b c d e f g Rashi Berashis 24:21
  28. ^ a b c d Rashi Berashis 24:22
  29. ^ a b Rashi Berashis 24:23
  30. ^ Rashi Berashis 24:24
  31. ^ Rashi Berashis 24:25

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