Chayei Sarah “Life of Sarah”

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1. And Sarah was a hundred and twenty seven years old; these were the years of the life of Sarah:
2. And Sarah died in Kiriath-Arba; which is Hebron in the land of Canaan; and Abraham came to mourn for Sarah, and to weep for her:
3. And Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spoke to the Hittites, saying:
4. I am a stranger and a sojourner with you; give me possession of a burying place with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight:
5. And the Hittites answered Abraham, saying to him:

Upon hearing of the offering of Yitzach, Sarah’s soul fled her body and she died. She had not known that HaSatan had deceived her and that Yitzach was spared his live, yet was still offered to Elohim, and was now in the service of Elohim as demonstrated in the previour parsha. Yitzach’s life was now dedicated. A holy life. He was consecrated to Elohim, for his service. This was done just as YHWH had asked of Avraham - despite Avraham's initial interpretation of the command.

Sarah was buried in the city of Kiriath-Arba (City of Four). It is said that it is called the City of Four because four couples are buried there: Adam and Chavah, Avraham and Sarah, Yitzach and Rivkah, and Yaacov and Leah. It is also said that it had this name because four giants lived there. It is most likely that both cases are true.

The burial place was purchased from Ephron, the Hittite, son of Tsohar for the sum of 400 shekels. The field is called Makpelah ( from the word Kaful meaning double). It has one cave on top of another, or twin caves. It is also said that the name was given to it because of the couples that were and would be buried there. The land was deeded to Avraham so that there would be a permenant record of the transaction and no one could deny that the land belonged to him and his decendants.

After this Avraham sought a wife for his son Yitzach. He caused his servant to take a vow that he would find a woman from Avraham’s family and that he would not select a woman from the land of Canaan. If a woman from Avraham’s family cannot be had, then the servant was released from this vow. However, he was forbidden to take Yitsach to the land under any circumstances. The land was full of idol worshippers. Yitzach was a holy man, consecrated to YHWH. Avraham feared that Yitzach would become adulterated by the practices there.

Also, remember that Nimrod has attempted to kill Avraham three times in that land. If Yitsach came to that land, it would become known to Nimrod that a son of Avraham was there and there is a high probability that he would be found and executed. Nimrod’s prophets had warned Nimrod that his kingdom would fail because of Avraham.

The first attempt was:

Jasher 8:1-7
1 And it was in the night that Abram was born, that all the servants of Terah, and all the wise men of Nimrod, and his conjurors came and ate and drank in the house of Terah, and they rejoiced with him on that night.
2 And when all the wise men and conjurors went out from the house of Terah, they lifted up their eyes toward heaven that night to look at the stars, and they saw, and behold one very large star came from the east and ran in the heavens, and he swallowed up the four stars from the four sides of the heavens.
3 And all the wise men of the king and his conjurors were astonished at the sight, and the sages understood this matter, and they knew its import.
4 And they said to each other, This only betokens the child that has been born to Terah this night, who will grow up and be fruitful, and multiply, and possess all the earth, he and his children for ever, and he and his seed will slay great kings, and inherit their lands.
5 And the wise men and conjurors went home that night, and in the morning all these wise men and conjurors rose up early, and assembled in an appointed house.
6 And they spoke and said to each other, Behold the sight that we saw last night is hidden from the king, it has not been made known to him.
7 And should this thing get known to the king in the latter days, he will say to us, Why have you concealed this matter from me, and then we shall all suffer death; therefore, now let us go and tell the king the sight which we saw, and the interpretation thereof, and we shall then remain clear.

The 2nd attempt was after Avram had destroyed his father’s idols and was turned in to Nimrod:

Jasher 12:19-24, 12:33-35
19 And Haran said in his heart, Behold now the king has seized Abram on account of these things which Abram did, and it shall come to pass, that if Abram prevail over the king I will follow him, but if the king prevail I will go after the king.
20 And when Terah had spoken this to the king concerning Haran his son, the king ordered Haran to be seized with Abram.
21 And they brought them both, Abram and Haran his brother, to cast them into the fire; and all the inhabitants of the land and the king's servants and princes and all the women and little ones were there, standing that day over them.
22 And the king's servants took Abram and his brother, and they stripped them of all their clothes excepting their lower garments which were upon them.
23 And they bound their hands and feet with linen cords, and the servants of the king lifted them up and cast them both into the furnace.
24 And the Lord loved Abram and he had compassion over him, and the Lord came down and delivered Abram from the fire and he was not burned.

33 And when Abram came out the king and all his servants saw Abram coming before the king, with his lower garments upon him, for they were not burned, but the cord with which he was bound was burned.
34 And the king said to Abram, How is it that thou wast not burned in the fire?
35 And Abram said to the king, The God of heaven and earth in whom I trust and who has all in his power, he delivered me from the fire into which thou didst cast me.

And a 3rd attempt was made after Nimrod had a dream concerning Avram:

Jasher 12:58-61
58 And Nimrod hearkened to the voice of Anuki, and he sent some of
his servants in secret to go and seize Abram, and bring him before the king to suffer death.
59 And Eliezer, Abram's servant whom the king had given him, was at
that time in the presence of the king, and he heard what Anuki had advised the king, and what the king had said to cause Abram's death.
60 And Eliezer said to Abram, Hasten, rise up and save thy soul, that
thou mayest not die through the hands of the king, for thus did he see in a dream concerning thee, and thus did Anuki interpret it, and thus also did Anuki advise the king concerning thee.
61 And Abram hearkened to the voice of Eliezer, and Abram hastened
and ran for safety to the house of Noah and his son Shem, and he concealed himself there and found a place of safety; and the king's servants came to Abram's house to seek him, but they could not find him, and they searched through out the country and he was not to be found, and they went and searched in every direction and he was not to be met with.

Eliezer, Avraham’s servant, did as he was asked and went to Avraham’s homeland to seek a wife from among Avraham’s family for his son Yitzach. He went to the land and he prayed at a well outside of the city that Elohim would interfere and deliver a wife for Yitzach to him. What Avraham had caused him to take an oath to do would require divine intervention. He was seeking a righteous woman, a maiden, a virgin in a land of idolaters. This may have been impossible for him to do with out divine assistance. When Eliezer went to Laban’s home, he recounted all that had happened to him, so as to convince him that this was a divine appointment and not one of chance or of lust of the flesh.

Notice that Rivkah is Laban’s brother’s daughter. He was raising his brother’s daughter. This was a financial burden to him and Laban was quick to release her into Eliezer’s hand. They did ask if Rivkah wanted to go with this man to marry Yitzach – a man she had never met – and she went.

Rivkah was such a modest woman that upon seeing the man she was to marry, she immediately veiled her face.

A few years ago, I witnessed this practice at Succoth. While there a young woman became betrothed to a young man. While anywhere in his presence or where they might see each other she kept herself veiled because of modesty. It was quite an inspiring experience to see such faith and honor towards each other. Such effort from such a young couple was inspiring. I was told by their families that this practice would continue until they are wed. This tradition among Israelites seems to have begun here with Yitzach and Rivkah.

In chapter 25 verse 20 ( which is in the next parshah) we learn that Yitzach was forty years of age when he took Rivkah into Sarah’s tent and Rivkah became his wife. We also learned at the end of chapter 24 that Yitzach had just learned of his mother’s death, remember he had been away for three years. He was mourning for her when Rivkah came. The finding of a wife comforted him.

Shabbat Shalom.