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Chayei Sarah in a Nutshell

Chayei Sarah in a Nutshell

Genesis 23:1–25:18


Sarah dies at age 127 and is buried in the Machpelah Cave in Hebron, which Abraham purchases from Ephron the Hittite for four hundred shekels of silver.

Abraham’s servant Eliezer is sent, laden with gifts, to Charan, to find a wife for Isaac. At the village well, Eliezer asks G‑d for a sign: when the maidens come to the well, he will ask for some water to drink; the woman who will offer to give his camels to drink as well shall be the one destined for his master’s son.

Rebecca, the daughter of Abraham’s nephew Bethuel, appears at the well and passes the “test.” Eliezer is invited to their home, where he repeats the story of the day’s events. Rebecca returns with Eliezer to the land of Canaan, where they encounter Isaac praying in the field. Isaac marries Rebecca, loves her, and is comforted over the loss of his mother.

Abraham takes a new wife, Keturah (Hagar), and fathers six additional sons, but Isaac is designated as his only heir. Abraham dies at age 175 and is buried beside Sarah by his two eldest sons, Isaac and Ishmael.

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jason wyck November 11, 2015

Please clarify. Im really need closure to this subject matter. Okay if Keturah is Hagar, where was Ishmael in all this? Please don't tell me that there is a high possibility that Abraham could had built the Qaaba with Ishmael. I'm not a scholar on Torah but to me it seems like Abraham had enough time to built the Qaaba. Please prove me wrong and explain it to me. I need closure with this. Reply

Tamar NY November 9, 2017
in response to jason wyck:

Jason there are a few thousand years between Abraham and the Qaaba... Reply

Anonymous November 14, 2014

Keturah/ Hagar Avraham remarried Keturah who is Hagar. Hagar is referred to as Ketura since she has done repentance (Teshuva) and started a new life as a good person. Reply

Samantha Leon November 5, 2017
in response to Anonymous:

Was she not already a good person? Reply

Anonymous DC November 8, 2017
in response to Samantha Leon:

The Torah says she was haughty toward Sarah after giving birth to Ishmael. That was not good middot. Reply

Anonymous October 20, 2013

portion This portion teaches about our souls being formed as having an ability of conscience to mend and to allow healing so that we may be strong to fulfill G-d's over all plan.
As Jews today we must have the strength and ability to withstand any obstacle of life and death so that we may serve G-d with strength and might.

Betie Newton glendale(az) November 9, 2012

I have a difficult time with Hagar marrying Abraham.If so, why is this not told to the arabs.? Reply

Elise Brooklyn, NY November 7, 2017
in response to Betie Newton:

Excellent point. Reply

Tanar Ny November 9, 2017
in response to Betie Newton:

The Arabs do absolutely recognize Abraham as their patriarch, as seen at the cave where he is buried in Hebron. However they believe Ishmael to be his heir rather than Isaac. Reply

Yocheved November 8, 2017
in response to Elise:

Torah is a light unto all nations -- available to Arabs or anyone else who wants to learn it, as demonstrated by the very existence of this website. The problem is that this point specifically -- about Hagar's relationship to Avraham Avinu -- represents Islam's biggest departure from Torah, with Muslims celebrating the purported akeida of Ishmael -- not Ytzchak -- on Eid el-Adha. So, I am not sure followers of the Koran are interested in what the Jewish commentators, z"l, have brought down. This is unfortunate because even their religion's founder Mohamed apparently recommended that any discrepancies that might arise among the Muslims should be verified with the Jews to whom H gave the truth. Reply

Anonymous Miami November 8, 2012

Keturah/Hagar Perhaps because after Hashem sent Hagar back to be obediant to Sarah, Hagar became a nice person...After all was she not promised a good future and Sarah being the strong kind faithful woman that she was may have helped Hagar to become a better wife, A wife Abraham would need after her passing. Reply

Anonymous November 8, 2017
in response to Anonymous:

This does not really track with the gemara which says that if you are merciful to the cruel you will wind up being cruel to the merciful. So, no, as far as I know, Sarah Imeinu had no part in Hagar's teshuva and did not prepare Hagar to become Avraham Avinu's wife in advance of Sarah Imeinu's passing. There is no need to guess, though. It is better to enable the Rashi under the parsha text and learn it inside. B'hatzlacha! Reply

anonymous ottawa, canada November 20, 2011

Rivkah/Keturah Rivkah, I think of the span of time lived by the patriarchs as the rise of an era marked by a certain novel event, like a cultural development that takes hold and never lets go, but supports and gives way to the next cultural development represent by the next patriarch, and so on.

Keturah: I wonder what it says in Hebrew??? When I read the King James bible, or any English translation, I wonder how much it veers from what is meant in Hebrew or Greek. Sometimes the entire message is completely transformed by the misapplication of one word. Not being able to read Hebrew and Greek will forever hold me back in my quest to plumb history through mythology. Reply

Jay Tompkins November 19, 2011

From a comment in the Geneva Bible of 1560 I have learned that Abraham was married to Ketura while Sarah was alive. Genesis 25 vs 1. Reply

Tamar NY November 9, 2017
in response to Jay Tompkins:

Yes he was married to her at Sara's suggestion, but she was called Hagar at the time. Reply

Rivkah williamsport, pa November 19, 2011

Sarah and Abraham's ages at death It is hard to believe Sarah and Abraham lived such long lives, but I guess Torah scholars accept it as fact. Reply

Rochie in Austin Austin, Tx via November 18, 2011

Keturah I too would like to know why Abraham remarried Keturah after Sarah's death, if indeed she WAS Hagar.There seems to be some question as to whether Keturah was indeed Hagar. Google Keturah and look at the WIkipedia article for further reference. Reply

Anonymous Mesa, Arizona, USA November 16, 2011

Chayei Sarah The last sentence makes sense to me. For Abraham Avinu was such special righteous man. I understand why a woman would not marry anyother man again after having such a wonderful husband.
Although, like me, I never married again because of the bad experience I had. Two opposite. Living for Hashem, Blessed be His Name, is the most rewarding life. Reply

Rabbi Menachem Posner November 16, 2011

To Anon in Mesa, AZ Keturah's children were indeed not present at Abraham's passing. This is because, as we read in Gen. 25:6, Abraham had given them gifts and sent them to the land of the East.

As to what Keturah means, there are a number of suggestions, all of them pointing to her righteousness. According to some it is related to the word "ketoret," incense, a reference to the fact that her actions were as pleasing before G-d as incense. Other traditions associate it with the word for "tying," reflecting the fact that she had bound herself shut to all men other than Abraham. It was due to this special righteousness and loyalty that Abraham took her back after Sarah had died and Isaac and Rebecca were settled.


annonymous ottawa, canada November 15, 2011

Cave in Hebron Very informative and lots to think about. The first question that popped up for me was about Sarah's burial in a cave. I wonder where that tradition originated. Reply

annonymous ottawa, canada November 15, 2011

Response to Annonymous Arizonaf Abraham's remarriage to Hagar was new to me too! I heard Hagar was actually royalty, maybe a princess before she became Sarah's handmaiden, then Abraham's second wife. This may explain why she treated Sarah with contempt, but I might be wrong. Reply

Tamar Ny November 9, 2017
in response to annonymous:

Hagar was the Egyptian Pharaoh's daughter. She joined Abraham's clan after the episode in Egypt with Sarah Reply

Anonymous Mesa, Arizona, USA November 15, 2011

Chayei Sarah Where were Keturah and Abraham's children at Abraham's burial? Torah tells there were Isaac and Ishmael at the burial.
What does "Keturah" means? Hagar changed her name later. It seems she returned to Abraham after Sarah death. Isn't this some kind of betrayal? After all, she treated Sarah with contempt, no? I know we need to forgive, and forget. And I also know that Abraham Avinu was a compassionate, loving, man. But I thought that Hagar went back to Egypt. This is kind of confusing to me. What happened to these new children. What became of them?
Thank you for your response in advance. Reply

Shelley November 6, 2017
in response to Anonymous:

Many, many years passed since Hagar was sent away. We are talking 20 years or so. An entire generation has grown. While Abraham did not want to send her and Ishmael away originally and Sarah did, G-d upheld Sarah's choice. But G-d also rescued Hagar, showing her compassion and favor. The Torah is a sparse history of important beginnings and ends, with some middle tales, but think of all the life that was led and the happenings that occurred for which the Torah is silent. My feeling is that this was known among contemporaries but through thousands of years only the most epic of the tales held up to posterity. The reuniting of Abraham's second wife and other sons was just in that regard; also, I think we tend to analyze the Bible with our modern ideas about fairness and forgiveness in relationships. People behaved with different priorities 5,000 years ago; society was not the same, For all we know on her deathbed Sarah might have told Abraham to get Hagar if she wasn't already there. Reply

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