Daf HaShavuah: Shabbat Chaye Sara

Despite the name of this Parashah, it opens with the death of Sarah in Hebron, and Abraham’s need to acquire a burial site for her remains. He purchases the Cave of Machpelah, marking the first time a Hebrew owns land in Eretz Yisrael.

Recognising the need to assure the transmission of the covenant, Abraham then arranges for his servant to return to his homeland and find a wife for his son Isaac from among his extended family. The servant discovers Rebekah, of Abraham’s family line, at the well in the oasis, fulfilling exactly the signs for which the servant had prayed. Returning to her home with her, he meets the rest of the family; both her brother, Laban, and her father, Bethuel, recognise the handiwork of God in this fortuitous connection, and ask Rebekah if she wants to return with the servant and marry Isaac. She does.

As the caravan of Rebekah approaches, Isaac is out walking, or meditating, in the fields. They see one another, and, in a powerfully moving moment, the Torah tells us that as she alights, Isaac brings her into the tent that had been his mother’s, loves her, and is comforted for his mother’s death.

Abraham marries again, this time to Keturah, and though he provides for all his progeny, only his son Isaac inherits his blessing, remaining wealth, and his land. By now 125 years old, Abraham dies and, like Sarah, is buried in the Cave of Machpelah.

Based on The Bedside Torah by Rabbi Bradley Artson

Questions for discussion

1- If God promised the whole Land to Abraham and his descendants, why did he have to buy a piece of it.

2- Why was it so important to marry inside the family, we know Laban was an idol worshipper, so what was the point?

3- Did Isaac replace Sarah with Rebekah? Or there is a different way to read this scene?

Shabbat Shalom

Rabbi Mijael Even-David

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